They worry that much of the city's charm will be destroyed, killing off its former reputation as the "Paris of the Middle East".
"The adventurous architecture was a synthesis of European and Middle Eastern. It became an expression of the city's self-confidence.
'It was the opening of commercial life, the opening for industry, the opening for culture itself, which gave this dream for the people to build such buildings,' explains architect Mona Zacharia, who has been involved in some impressive restoration projects.
Now, the demise of the villas has its own message."