The 600-bed capacity five-star beach resort, Sun N Sand, will be demolished and replaced by seven luxurious apartment blocks over the next five years.
The Sh15 billion project at Kikambala in Kilifi County was officially launched at the weekend. The director, Mahmud Visram, said construction of the apartments under the name Ocean Seven had started.
Mr Visram said the apartments would be completed in 2018, adding that the concept was popular in Dubai and that the company introduced it locally “after thorough market research and study”.
He said the research showed there was rising appetite for luxurious apartments. The seven towers will include two commercial blocks and five residential ones, which upon completion will be sold to investors.
“We realised there is need for a place where the aged, lonely and senior citizens can rest and receive maximum care and attention. This was one of the driving forces in our introducing this concept,” he said during the ceremony.
He said the seven towers will be 17, 19 and 25 storeys each with a direct view of the sea and all within a 17-acre plot owned by the hotel.
“We shall have a biogas plant to recycle garbage, special trees, flowers, and an exercise park and create an environment to attract birds and butterflies. We shall also provide chopper services and landing space ,” he said.
The project will have 325 condominiums (rooms) with the first tower of 58 units already under construction on the spot where the hotel stood.
Mr Visram, who was accompanied by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, said the locals would be given priority in employment. When fully operational, it is expected to employ about 10,000 directly and indirectly.
About50 per cent of the two, three and four bedrooms units have been sold to Kenyans.
“The concept of space and luxury in a tranquil beachside setting within reach of amenities and services in Mombasa seems to have really caught on with buyers,” said Mr Visram.
Mr Kingi described the project as a landmark in the county and “a first in luxury” whose choice was an indicator of investor confidence in Kilifi.
“As the first governor of Kilifi I am delighted by such mega investments in my area. This and the Billionaire’s Resort in Malindi will put Kilifi County on top of the list of global tourist attractions,” he said.
Mr Kingi said the county would abide by the 70 per cent local workforce and 30 per cent outsiders employment rule.
“With the soon to be opened Utalii College branch at Kilifi, there should be no reason to say the local people are not qualified for these jobs,” he said.
He said his government would liaise with the national government to come up with a taxation regime friendly to investors.
“We shall work closely with the national government to avoid double taxation by the county and Nairobi which has been a bone of contention for many visitors,” Mr Kingi said.