5-Star Hyatt Hotel Under Construction In Addis Ababa

5-Star Hyatt Hotel Under Construction In Addis Ababa

A Dubai-based company has finalized a $25 million dollar deal to buy two hotels under construction in Addis Ababa that will be converted into one five-star Hyatt hotel, according to a report in AllAfrica.

This will be a first for U.S.-based Hyatt in Ethiopia. Aside from those under construction, there are three other international hotels operating in Ethiopia – Sheraton Addis, Hilton and Radisson Blu, the report said.

Albwardy Investments bought the two hotels from M.A. Kharafi & Sons Plc. for $25 million. The hotels are located at the junction of Africa Avenue and Jomo Kenyatta Street at Meskel Square.

Kharafi had originally planned to build one seven-story, three-star Ibis hotel on Jomo Kenyata Street and another six-story, four-star Novotel on Africa Avenue in partnership with French hotel management company Accor.

Plans changed, however, and now Albwardy intends to turn the two hotels into one five-star Hyatt. Hyatt has 492 locations worldwide.

Albwardy has earmarked another $50 million to redesign the buildings, the report said.

Kuwait-based Kharafi, which has business interests in telecommunications, oil and construction, gave up its seven-year hotel project in Ethiopia seven years after construction began in January, 2006.

“Bureaucratic snags and a change in the company’s leadership were the causes,” management staff said.

Kharafi, through its subsidiary MAK Contracting, first entered the Ethiopian market in the 1990s, building a new Ethiopian Airlines terminal building for $81 million. With construction completed in 2003, it decided to move into the hospitality industry in 2006 with Accor.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the bureaucratic snags involved in building these hotels in Addis Ababa: The joint Kharafi-Accor venture company bought a 10,232-square-meter lot for the hotels, but part of it overlapped with a nearby hotel project by Sunshine Construction, which caused complications that took time to resolve. Design approval took more than a year. After construction started, Accor backed out, leaving the project under the sole ownership of Kharafi.

Although the hotels were scheduled to be complete after 38 months of construction, delays in delivery of materials further extended the project, which was still unfinished in 2011. After spending $20 million dollars and a change in management at Kharafi, the project was suspended.

Kharafi has hotel and construction ventures in South Africa and Gambia.

Albwardy owns 30 companies internationally including food distribution logistics, marine engineering, construction, commercial insurance, polo sports and hospitality. It owns a Hyatt Regency in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and 13 other hotels in Africa and around the world.