Kempinski blocks Chinese firm’s Sh10bn tower project

An impression of the Sh9.6 billion complex.
An impression of the Sh9.6 billion complex. PHOTO/COURTESY
Avic International’s plan to build its Sh9.6 billion Africa headquarters in Nairobi suffered a major setback on Thursday after Villa Rosa Kempinski obtained orders stopping the project.

The 250,000 square metre Avic complex, which is to be built on a 7.5-acre plot on Chiromo Road in Westlands, was in July approved by city leaders but its five-star hotel neighbour filed a petition with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) tribunal seeking to halt its construction.

Kempinski argued that Avic was granted an Environmental Impact Assessment licence before it disclosed how it would deal with air quality issues, storm water drainage and noise pollution during construction.

“The Nema tribunal has received an appeal from Simba Corporation Ltd [owners of Kempinski] against Nema’s decision to issue you with an Environmental Impact Assessment licence.

“The purpose of this letter therefore is to direct that all activities relating to the appeal must be stopped until it is heard and determined by the tribunal,” Nema tribunal said in a letter to Avic on Thursday.

The Avic complex, which is scheduled for completion in five years, will border Villa Rosa Kempinski, ARM Cement headquarters and the Mirage Towers.

READ: Chinese firm gets go-ahead to build Sh10bn Africa hub in Nairobi

It will comprise a 43-level office tower; a 35-level hotel tower; and four apartment towers of 24 levels, 28 levels, 24 levels and 25 levels respectively.

The facility will also include a 4-level commercial podium on the western side of Chiromo Lane connected to a 5-level podium on the side of the lane with a 2-level bridge.

Interestingly, Kempinski says in its petition that Nema granted Avic the EIA licence on the assumption that the Chinese firm will amalgamate all the five plots into one – something that is impossible because the plots are separated by a public road.

“Any approval given on the basis of an intended amalgamation can therefore not be allowed to stand,” Kempinski said in its petition to the environmental tribunal.

Avic is expected to file its defence by October 7.

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