Just when you thought the most dreaded SANY had taken a Christmas break, the demolition king will soon make a return and this time, he will descend on the most controversial multi-million Grand Manor Hotel situated in the upmarket area of Gigiri.
A Nairobi court has today issued orders allowing the Nairobi County Government to the hotel owned by businessman Praful Kumar on grounds that it is a security threat to the adjacent United Nations offices.
The controversy surrounding the Grand Manor hotel hit headlines in August this year when Mr. Kumar was arrested in Kilifi County by officials from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over allegations that he intended to bribe Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to stop him from demolishing the property.
The hotel is situated opposite the US Embassy on one side and the United Nations head offices on the other side. On its left, is the High Commission of Botswana and on the right is the Embassy of Morocco stretching to its backyard.
Its proximity to the embassies and the UN is one the major reasons for the push to have it brought down, as the foreign missions have in the past written to the county government and the foreign affairs ministry to protest its construction.
In July 2015, the Gigiri Village Association had filed a complaint lamenting the construction of a commercial structure in the area claiming that it violated physical planning regulations for the low-density estate. Residents further argued that the area should be limited to low residential, one-family houses as it had no facilities to support the hotel.
In December last year, the county government wrote to the Foreign Affairs Ministry confirming that the developer had not shown evidence of consultations with the embassy.
By the month of August, the construction of the multi-million facility was nearing completion with the hotel already equipping some of the rooms ready to open the doors to its clients.
It’s now only a matter of time before the building comes down, a painful demolition that will cost the owner millions of shillings, something he could have avoided had he followed the law.