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Economy

Kempinski renews bid to stop building of Avic tower

Villa Rosa Kempinski
Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Simba Corporation, the owners of the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi Tuesday served the Chinese developer Avic International with orders to stop the construction of a block of towers next to the hotel.

A scuffle nearly ensued at the Chinese firm’s office premises when lawyers representing Kempinski served the order issued by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) stopping work until the case is heard on January 29, 2020.

Last month, the tribunal sitting in Nairobi ruled that the construction of the Sh9 billion complex should be halted after a lengthy legal battle between the two which started back in 2015.

“The concerns of the appellants on the stop order are adequately addressed by the provisions of Section 129 (4) of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) as it provides that the status quo be maintained pending hearing of the appeal,” the tribunal ordered on November 25.

Kempinski and the Chinese contractor have locked horns since mid-2015, with the latter claiming to have lost about Sh1.8 billion in construction delays arising from the vicious battle over the building of the facility whose centrepiece is a 43-storey tower.

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The hotel moved to the tribunal through its parent company-Simba Corporation to challenge the National Environment Management Authority’s (Nema’s) decision to award Avic approval for the tall buildings, which will also house American hotel chain Marriot Hotels on a 35- storey block.

Construction has been going on in the meantime, and the buildings are all nearing completion as work continued Tuesday even after the order was served.

Kempinski says construction of Avic’s facility has hived off part of Chiromo Lane Road and is bound to increase traffic in the area, a move that will make it harder to access its top notch facility, especially during rush hours.

The complex will double as Avic’s Africa headquarters, and apart from the two taller blocks, will also contain two apartment blocks of 24 storeys each and another two containing 25 and 28 floors respectively.

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