6 April 2019

Ethiopia: Old Building Knocked Down for New Multi-Purpose Complex

A local family business is turning a quarter-century-old building in the capital, the Zerihun Building, into a multi-purpose complex by investing 800 million Br in a complete demolition and reconstruction project.

Located on Haile Gebre Selassie Avenue, the five-storey building that lies on a 2,400Sqm plot was constructed for 6.5 million Br 24 years ago and has served as a home to a cafe, supermarket, photography studio and various offices.

Z Plc, the owner of the building, is demolishing the building to construct a 19-storey structure that will house a mall, 120 apartment units and a commercial 7,500Sqm space designated for offices.

Before deciding to demolish the old building, the management of the company considered three other options, according to Anbesaw Zerihun, general manager of Z Plc.

Renovating the old building, constructing an additional building near it or demolishing the current one and building a new one were the options, according to Anbesaw.

In picking the last option, the company hired Pomerium Progettazioni, an Italian architectural firm, and local firm Falcon to design the new building, whose first four floors are designed to serve as a mall. The building will have two towers: a 17-storey tower dedicated to apartment units and a 19-storey tower that will accommodate offices.

Demolishing the building began two months ago with only the ground floor now left for removal. The building's owners gave tenants six months to vacate the building.

"We plan to lay the foundations before the end of this year and begin construction next year," said Anbesaw.

Expected to take three years to complete, the construction will be carried out by a sister company owned by Z Plc. The company has already secured a building permit from the city's Integrated Infrastructure & Construction Permit & Control Authority, according to Anbesaw.

The family chose to keep the legacy of their father as well as considering economic reasons in making the investment at the current location, according to Ambesaw.

"We want to preserve our father's name and legacy," he said. "In addition, the location is very important as the area is growing fast. "

Z Plc was founded in 1995 by Zerihun Lakew, a prominent business figure, and his family. The family also runs Great Abyssinia, a fast moving consumer goods company with brands like Abyssinia Coffee, Abyssinia Bottled Water and Prigat Juice; Noah Real Estate; Yekatit Paper Converting and Cool Manufacturing.

Million Lakew, a business and investment consultant for the past 25 years, believes the demolition of Zerihun to set up a new complex is a smart decision.

The building is located at a prime location with good business activity, according to Million. But he argues that the business units are more ideal than the residential units.

"As land is becoming a scarce resource in the capital, demolishing old buildings to make way for new buildings should be practised widely," said Million.

Ethiopia

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