(April 23, 2015 Addis Fortune) Property trespass conflict between the ASB Hotel Properties Plc, which is developing a hotel at the junction of the Jomo Kenyata Street and Africa Avenue, and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), which is constructing the Addis Abeba Light Rail Transit (AA LRT), was resolved with the granting of an adjacent plot to the hotel.
The dispute was related to the construction of the stairs to the AA LRT at Meskel Square near Estifanos Church. The stairs begin from inside the property of the hotel construction, initiating the dispute in January 2015.
Following the intrusion of the stairs into land held by ASB Hotel, which is owned by the Dubai-based holding company Albwardy Investments Group, the company appealed to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Albwardy Group acquired the ongoing construction of the hotel from M.A. Kharafi & Sons Plc for 25 million dollars after a two year long negotiation that was delayed because of clearance and land transfer issue, said project manager of ASB Hotel, does not want to be named.
The Investment Group has changed the original plan M.A Kharafi & Sons Plc to construct one three-star hotel, named Ibis, on the side of the Jomo Kenyata Street and another four-star, named Novotel, along Africa Avenue, both of them under the French company Accor Hotels.
The new design has turned both buildings to one five-star Hyatt Hotel, which is an American hotel operator established in 1957, with a franchise in 492 locations worldwide.
The AA LRT, which is under construction with a budget of 475 million dollars, has a total of 39 stations of which nine are bridge stations, with station stairs from the ground up; three of the stations are underground and 27 on ground level. The average distance between two stations on the east-to-west route is 0.8Km and on the north-to-south route 0.78Km.
It is one of these overpasses in the east-to-west route, built inside the property of ASB Hotel, that caused the dispute, which was finally laid to rest by the Addis Abeba City Administration with the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The AA LRT construction has blocked the Meskel Square view that was meant for the enjoyment of hotel guests from one of the restaurants inside the hotel, said the project manager. Because of this they had to make some redesigning and inside construction adjustment with a cost he did not wish to disclose.
After the appeal to the Prime Minister’s Office, there had been continual meetings and negotiation that went on for a full month and involved various stakeholders such as representatives from the Addis Abeba Mayor’s Office, the Prime Minister’s Office and consultant team of AA LRT, said the project manager.
An official from City Administration Land Banking & Transfer Agency has acknowledged the fact that there were complaints regarding the issue but did not want to comment further as it is a private matter and a decision by the City’s cabinet had already been passed.
The City Cabinet has reached an agreement with the party that the City Administration provide land that is equivalent to the land that has been taken away for the construction of the overpass, according to the project manager.
Though the project manager would disclose neither the area of land that was taken away from them, nor that of the land they have been provided by the City Administration, the project is taking place on a total of 11,000sqm plot of land, he said.
The construction of the hotel, which will be finalised after two and half years, will cost ABS hotel a total of 55 million dollars. The hotel will have 200 rooms, out of which 10 are executive suites and a presidential suite, one conference hall and other facilities such as swimming pool, gym and spa, said the manager. It will also have two basement floors that will be a parking lot with a capacity to accommodate up to 200 cars, he added.
Another hotel built by Sunshine construction at the cost of 33 million dollars has also affected by the railway construction. It is located at Meskel Square. According to Samuel Tafesse, who is a co-owner of Sunshine Construction Plc, the railway construction has blocked the hotel entrance so they had to move the entrance to the other side of the hotel. Their proposal to change the place of the entrance and to build a ramp has received approval from the Addis Abeba City Administration three months ago; with the City Administration granting Sunshine a 160sqm of land plot for the ramp construction, said Samuel.
Currently, they are waiting for the redesign approval from Marriott International Inc, a company that has signed a hotel management contract agreement with Sunshine last year, he added.
The hotel, which goes under the brand of Marriott Executive Apartments is built on 2,700sqm plot of land, will accommodate 108 rooms, a restaurant, a swimming pool, and a fitness centre. The Executive Apartment is expected to be finalised in the coming month, according to Samuel.