Nearly 2,800 homes are to be razed and an estimated 12,585 families relocated to allow for the expansion of the Sheraton Addis, the independent business weekly Fortune reports. The five-star hotel has been awarded two separate plots of land in Addis Ababa for a major development project in the Kirkos and Arada districts south and east of the city centre. The demolitions, which are due to begin in September, involve over 600 privately-owned homes, with the rest belonging to the local kebeles or local administrative units. This is the largest relocation in Addis Ababa involving a private investor to date.
Established by Ethiopia-born Saudi billionaire Sheik Mohammed Al-Moudi in the Arada district in 1998, the Sheraton Addis has been looking to expand for a couple of years, but plans have been held up by opposition from residents and lack of funding for compensation. State minister of works and urban development and former city mayor Arkebe Ekubay told Fortune that tenants affected by the relocations would be given alternative housing in condominium blocks that are being built across the city. If that does not work out, then they will be provided with alternate kebele housing, he said. As far as the private home owners go, they will be compensated. However, he gave no indication of how much they would receive or where they would be allowed to build their new homes.