Bayt Lothan Closing Down, Turning into Mall

Post by Mark


Although the title sounds like a joke it isn’t. Bayt Lothan, the non-profit organization that has become an important community center hosting a variety of workshops and events is being evicted from their current property in Salmiya. They’ve been active from that location for the past 20 years but late last year they were told they would have to move out by the end of March.


Even though the current Bayt Lothan house used to belong to one of the former Amirs, the current owners want the house back so they could turn it into something commercial. The rumor is that the house will be demolished and a mall will be built in it’s place although based on the land size I think it will probably be turned into a food complex.


Q8 Books whom are located in Bayt Lothan are also being forced to leave although they don’t have anywhere to go. Q8 Books is hoping someone could provide them with space as Bayt Lothan were providing the space to them for free. So not only does it suck that Bayt Lothan is being pushed out but Q8 Books as well. Both are very important culturally and it’s sad to see this happening.


We don’t need more malls and we definitely don’t need more food complexes.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

71 comments, add your own...

  1. d1 says:

    Where will Bayt Lothan move to? they could rent a villa or rent a warehouse in Shuwaikh.

    Shuwaikh is a viable option because lately there are art galleries and cultural places, like Masaha 13 and Arabana warehouse.

  2. teenum says:

    that’s so sad. could we donate money for rent to another place until a proper place is found?

  3. A Proud Kuwaiti says:


  4. Hielda says:

    Very sad news Mark! So many memories will be lost and some great moments will be forgotten!

  5. Burhan says:

    Damn, what a loss.

  6. T says:

    This is so sad. It seems so sudden. Damn, I wish there was something we could do.

  7. Buzz says:

    That’s a terrible shame. I hope the Amiri Diwan buys it and keeps it as it. We don’t need more shopping malls and we definitely cannot lose any more heritage sites. It is a historic old house, isn’t it? Alternatively, they can offer them free space in the new Salmiya cultural center not far from where they are right now.

  8. loony says:

    Isn’t the building protected by the govt?
    Which is why Bayt Lothan was only not able to change anything on the exterior but were allowed to refurbish the interior.

    Shame if they tear it down. If they really wanna go the commercial route why not be like those old houses in Watiya?

    Oh well, they sitting on prime real estate :(

  9. Khaled Hammad says:

    Bayt lothan is the place where i started building my musical career. I’ve met so many musicians and unforgettable people there. It had a small family-like community and I created so many memories there. It’s sad to see the place just eradicated especially that Kuwait needs more places like this and not more malls just to crowd the already crowded area and purchase what can be purchased already all over salmiyah. this place should be considered as a Kuwaiti trademark and not be simply removed like that.

  10. dana says:

    Is there any way we can sign a petition against this?

  11. Gus says:

    What a sad story…this used to be my school, Al-Manhal. We were the last class to graduate in 1990 and after that it was gone due to the Iraqi invasion. I always liked to walk in there, brings back great memories, I still remember every class location :) Time to have one last photo shoot I guess!

  12. Una Barras-Hargan says:

    This is embarrassing for the country. One of the few cultural centres in Kuwait: an oasis of community in a sea of soulless malls. Whoever has suggested this project is obviously very removed from the cultural and general community of Kuwait. Surely the buildings alone merit protection due to their historical interest. As for Q8 Books having to move, that’s a disgrace. Q8 Books is such an excellent example for young Kuwaitis and expats of community collaboration, not to mention recycling and sustainability. I do hope people will rise up to oppose the proposal. Or is it too late for that? I think it’s a sad direction to be taking.

    • Kuwait has many cultural centers (contrary to popular belief). Most people prefer visiting malls, so supply and demand. There are other points to bear in mind. Malls are versatile, they’re not just commercial entities. A poignant article by artist Nada Faris (at the bottom of the page):

      Who is to blame for demolishing Bayt Lothan? Us. Not “Kuwait.” Not even the owners of Bayt Lothan. But us. You and me, dear reader. There are 365 days a year, 366 in a leap year, and I wonder how many days each year we (each one of us who is saddened by the destruction of Bayt Lothan) spent actively supporting this institution? How many shows did we attend, how many events did we organize, how many lectures did we advertise? I think it is safe to say that had we been sufficiently proactive there would have been no need to compare the benefits of building a new mall with maintaining the services of Bayt Lothan.

  13. zaydoun says:

    This is beyond sad and pathetic. Yet another restaurant complex that nobody wants or needs

  14. Muneera says:

    This really is a great shame. Bayt Lothan showed me so much support when I first came back. They gave me a platform to show my work when other places were still not interested in showing unknown local artists. They were always willing to help me in anyway they could. Im glad I got to work with them and get the benefit of showing in a place that brought all types of people in Kuwait together. Inshallah the spirit of Bayt Lothan will continue to live through all the people they have helped.

  15. Sarj says:

    I work at Bayt Lothan (I’m the sound engineer) and I was told that a tower will be built in it’s place. I’m not sure about a mall but it’s possible that it could be an extension of Marina.

    There are talks about relocating but I’m not allowed to divulge any information just yet.

    On a side note… there’s going to be one last ‘A Night In’ event on the 16th of February, don’t miss it.

  16. Jacob Oommen says:

    It would be a colossal shame if Q8books was not offered another place in Kuwait to operate from. From the time it moved to Bayth Lothan it has become a magnet for book lovers, reading clubs, school kids etc. Fajer and Tariq did a wonderful job keeping this store going for the last three years and I certainly want to believe that this wont be the last of it.

    The way I see it, the pulse of a nation is not measured by the number of malls, restaurants, or fancy cars alone. For when bookstores vanish, or are forced out, somehow we all die a little bit – especially me.

  17. DeViL says:

    Suck it up! For a change you can’t blame this on “Expats”

    • djelibaby says:

      true – the expats managed to keep it open for longer :P I used to go to the old one where ppl would flock in not just to see and be seen and it was an expat haven… with kuwaitis visiting too. But once it became primarily kuwaiti, say goodbye to expats… its hard to hang around obliviousness and pretentiousness all day

  18. adly says:

    I sort of disagree on this one. The lands is worth millions and millions of dinars to the owners and moreover, even though we all love Bayt Lothan, how many times a year do any of you actually go there? As for the bookstore, thats neither here nor there. There are a million places that they can relocate to for free or they can pay rent just like everyone else. After all, its not a charity.

    Sure, its very easy to jump on the bandwagon and criticize malls and food courts, but if business is busness and if thats where the money is and what the majoity of the population want, then so be it.

    Finally, lets not forget that Kuwait just opened Shahid Park which is a cultural and social center and that there are two enourmous museums/cultural centers opening up in the next year or so, so its not like there is nothing to replace Bayt Lothan with. I love Bayt Lothan just like everyone else but sometimes business decisions override emotional ones…..

    • flounder says:

      Came here to say this. Bayt Lothan is a safe place to experiment and find like minded people so it is a shame to see it go, nonetheless. I am not sure I see the alternatives you mentioned as providing the same non-judgmental haven as Bayt Lothan but I do hope other places spring up with loving benefactors (focusing on profit for such places can be tough).

    • thek5 says:

      you can build new buildings but you cannot build the memories or culutural siginificance nor can you give any new building any worthwhile history.

      we do not need new towers, more congestion, more diabetes, more ways for citizens to spend money on worthless material things. there are enough around kuwait,

      we need to protect the fleeting icons and signs that we have history, that show there were people who lived here and there in one wat or another,

      the very bored and upset youth need places to educate themselves, express themselves, present congregate and such, we need inviting libraires like Q8 books, which is non profit and hence cannot afford the silly rents we all pay.

      the populations faces high rates of diabetes, illiteracy, and the lack of healthy activities or communities and no matter how prime the real estate is, there are somethings that are more valuable.

      perople try and get the message across. Kuwait can build their 2035 plan, but they can not rebuild historical monuments.

  19. meh says:

    Well the government is building to mega cultural centers in Shuwaikh and Shaab right?

    You can’t keep ugly old buildings forever.

  20. Geyser says:

    Lmao and they are building a mall in its place. So miserable to see how something that benefits society goes to waste at the expense of replacing it with something so ridiculous.

  21. Geyser says:

    @adly Your comment is the essence of why society is just so sad.

    • adly says:

      yes, society is sad and the world is a sucky place but thats simply the reality of the world we live in. The exact same thing has happened in every single city in the world when older worn down buildings are torn down to make space for newer uglier buildings. And thats why in many countries there are foundations and government entities who pass laws that protect historical buildings to make sure they arent torn down. I believe Kuwait has such laws as well but am not sure. I know for a fact that we have strict laws in Egypt that prohibit tearing down villas and historical buildings over a certain age. Obviously rich corrupt businessmen find ways around these laws all the time but thats another story…..

  22. Jaws says:

    Why don’t you and Fejer the Lawyer fight to keep the place alive. You could arrange a fundraiser. Do something about it, besides reporting with sarcastic comments about malls and food courts.

  23. Eyad says:

    I ve never been there , but Bayt Lothan is every where and doing amazing activities around Kuwait. There is two options that I am thinking about that might be great.

    First Option is Ahmadi if they could approach KOC and Get an Old house to have it as their HQ for events, it away from traffic and they big houses.

    Option 2 is to approach Alshaheed Park and they can be based there since they carry out lots of events and its a non-profit organization that reflects Kuwait’s Modern Vision

    • DeViL says:

      Copy Paste* … Suck it up! For a change you can’t blame this on “Expats”

      • Inkuwait says:

        Stop trying to turn it into a Kuwaiti/ expat thing- saying it twice won’t make anyone take anymore notice or bite….. Although saying that…. Who uses the malls?

        • DeViL says:

          Suck it up! Everyone uses Malls. I just said it twice, the other way round has been ringing in everyone’s head, as if they were born to serve.

  24. LonghornInKuwait says:

    The owners food complexes that are going up on 30 between Fintas and 6th Ring are going to be crying because the vacant slots.

  25. Sfh5 says:

    This is really sad! Bayt Lothan was an establishment that people from outside of Kuwait were actually interested in, and it became some sort of a tourist attraction!

    This shows the key issue in that the land owners make such bad decisions just because they see dollar signs in something that might have been a success in a few cases (ie food complexes), and don’t think of the value of what they already have on their land.

    The Government should definitely start some sort of panel where they announce certain buildings or lands “Heritage” so that the owners can’t do whatever they want with them….

  26. It is a shame, there should be a way to protect heritage sites like this gem. I wish I had a place to offer them, all i can do is donate money at the moment, unless anything else is asked.
    We definitely don’t need for crappy food places…..for the love of god!! beeessssss!!!
    or shopping malls for that matter.
    They’re pouring so much money into new cultural centres etc, but why can’t they leave the one the majority of people actually want.

  27. Once they started tearing down the old houses along the road we all knew it would happen one day considering the greed that runs rampant here. Family members are waiting every day for the old relatives to die so they can sell off their land and buy the latest habba items with no care about the past as most people today live in the moment.

    That’s one of the reasons I take pictures of every old building I can find so I can show my kids when they get older.

  28. anonz says:

    dissapointing kuwait..

  29. mesh says:

    Please don’t demolish the building, you can still turn it into something commercial (just like the old Behbehani Complex that turned into restaurant and art gallery). There is no need to demolish, it’s a beautiful building and can be used for commercial reasons. Not long ago, NCCAL listed Bayt Lothan as one of the heritage sites, it was even featured in the NCCAL site. Bayt Lothan the organization can just relocate to another place. But that building is beautiful and should be conserved.

    Please don’t demolish! I wish Dar al-Athar or Amiri Diwan buy the building and protect it. Please, it’s heritage. You can’t demolish everything.

    Kuwait City needs old buildings like this, without them it will be another soulless plastic city. Please don’t demolish!

  30. rana says:

    worst new i have ever heard !!

  31. Nassim says:

    Guys I suggest we really should do something about this, I suggest we chain ourselves to the building and appeal to the owners we don’t need more resterants

  32. Inkuwait says:

    Absolutely ridiculous – who is actually in charge of giving mall permits and do they even liaise with others …. For example people in the health sector who keep telling us about childhood obesity and diabetes in Kuwait?
    It’s becoming a bad Monty Python sketch….

  33. Inkuwait says:

    Thank goodness these town ‘planners’ don’t live in the rest of the world – I dread to think what works of art we would see destroyed ….😳

  34. Ahmed says:

    If they build a new mall in its place, will Q8 Books move there?

  35. djelibaby says:

    first world problems

  36. Matt says:

    Put your money where your mouths are. Buy the building and preserve it as you see fit. I happen to agree with the sentiment of most of these posts, but in the final analysis, the only opinion that matters is that of the owner.

  37. Elizabeth says:

    It was really sad to see the news in the local newspaper yesterday about Q8 books closing down. It would really be a pity to see this location be turned into a Mall/Food Court.
    Bayt Lothan is a great location & to close the bookshop will be a big disappointment.

    I wish they would reconsider & keep this heritage site & the bookshop …

  38. dawny says:

    this is so sad i used to go there with my family when i was little :(

  39. Robyn says:

    I heard this the other day- so so sad.

  40. DSsleh says:

    Dear Sir,

    Appreciate the topic as well the discussion, how can I reach someone I’m Bayt Lothan?


  41. Brock says:

    WTH is up here?! Every corner here has a mall or a cafe. How ridiculous is this?! This is just extremely sad to learn. Can we not sign a petition to stop this madness?

  42. DeViL says:

    Malls and food courts is all you will get …

  43. Pretty Psycho B*tch MO says:

    That’s too bad. I’m sorry guys.

  44. Moe says:

    Hey guys

    There’s a petition started by AUK students to stop the demolition

    They got about 4100 out of 5000 signatures

    Just 900 more to go!

Leave a Reply

Commenting is a privilege not a right. I allow comments on the site because I believe that you can make a valuable contribution but in return I expect that you comment responsibly.


If you have anything you think would be interesting to share on this blog
[Email Me]