N$800m hotel on cards
The envisaged Eliakim Namundjebo Plaza is set for Windhoek’s last vacant city centre plot at a parking lot on Independence Avenue, opposite the Kalahari Sands Hotel.
The United Africa Group (UAG) unveiled the project last year, but architectural plans will kick off within the course of this season according to Haddis Tilahun, Group Executive Director.
Africa’s largest and leading hotel group, Protea Hotels has also joined hands with the UAG in the management of the envisaged structure, named after the late Namundjebo, a local business magnate who died in 1990.
Said Tilahun: “We start projects to make them bankable and fundable, not to seek funds. Right now we have been maximising on efficiency of services so that when things start rolling, we will leave a united choice, option and preference to our clients.”
The hotel will be an upmarket 150-room plaza where architects and developers have already indicated that current activities such as informal trading areas, a taxi rank and underground parking for 1 900 vehicles will be incorporated in the 64 000 square meter development.
These will be supplemented by walkways, a bus terminal, a tourist information centre, restaurants and shops.
“We would like to support the informal traders. They will give it a lot of life and it will be good for tourism”, said architect Henk Boogertman of the South African firm Boogertman Urban Edge Partners.
The expected prime address is expected to be developed by Stratford Property Ventures who were recently commended by President Hifikepunye Pohamba for the upmarket extension of Maerua Mall complex in the capital.
Existing structures and features, such as the Supreme Court building, the Zoo Park and Independence Avenue are likely to be incorporated in the design of the hotel complex.
The Namundjebo project is expected to provide employment for some 1 500 Namibians in the building industry over the next three years.
According to Tilahun, the construction of the Namundjebo Plaza will be purely Namibian.
More than 1200 labourers and subcontractors will be employed during the construction phase.
A Malaysian company Freedom Square, in a joint venture with local partners, had planned to build a five-star hotel to lure Asian and Pacific tourists in conjunction with local partners after it won a tender in 1995 to buy and develop the property.
The Malaysians failed to follow-up their letter of intention despite having entered into a preliminary deed of sale with the municipality for N$15 million and paying N$2 million as a deposit.
United Africa Group then bought the property from the Windhoek Municipality for N$10 million.