A picture of the 1930s French Mandate-era building (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Caretaker Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury Tuesday clarified the circumstances around the partial demolition of a heritage building in Beirut's Monnot area, while calling some criticism of his ministry political.Khoury said Tuesday that the steps to the building's slated demolition started in 2010 when the Dergham was acquired by two people, identified as Marcel Keyrouz and Hiba Shawkat, after they received confirmation from the Culture Ministry's Directorate-General of Antiquities that the building was not on a list of protected heritage sites.The owners then asked again for permission to demolish the building, and Khoury's ministry accepted, on the condition that the facade of the building, and especially its balconies, be maintained.A decree was then issued by Chebib in April 2017 allowing for the building to be demolished based on the conditions set out by the Culture Ministry.
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