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Limbo is a familiar feeling for Beirut's war ruins.For others, questions over what will happen to the hotel, an evocative and hulking monument to Lebanon's darkest days, have reawoken an old debate about the fate of other buildings laid to waste by the Civil War. Although St. Charles City Center, the company that owns the building, tried several times to rehabilitate it after the war ended, disagreements between the company's biggest shareholders proved insurmountable. A Kuwaiti group, with 53 percent of the shares, wanted to tear it down, while local Compagnie Immobiliere Libanaise, with 34 percent, wanted to convert it into apartments. The Holiday Inn is far from being the only building that elicits such strong reactions. Beirut is dotted with ruins left over from the war, their fates hanging in the air as their owners attempt to reconcile the financial, cultural, architectural and historical factors at play. The same appears to be true for the Grand Theater, one of Beirut's hidden gems.Believed to date back to the 1920s, the theater is everything the Murr Tower isn't. Centuries-old theaters clearly fall into the heritage category, so the case for preserving such a building is clear.Although it was only half finished by the time the Civil War began, the Egg's distinctively rounded cinema, sat two floors up like a space ship, and a shopping center below had both been open for several years.
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