On May 23, 2017, there was a profound enthusiasm for what was to become Africa’s tallest building and third in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pinnacle Tower. It was to be 70 stories tall, approximately 300 meters in height. There is nothing much done after three years. What is visible in the construction site after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s foundation stone is a massive gaping hole posing a danger to the people of Upper Hill and the businesses in the area.
Had things gone as planned, now there would be a gorgeous building with concrete, glass, and steel piled pushing it to a breathtaking 300-meters- dwarfing every building ever erected on the African ground. It was to be called the Pinnacle tower.
The Pinnacle Overview
The Pinnacle tower was to consist of two adjacent towers. The short and tall towers, with a short tower at 46 floors. The short tower was to house the 257-room, the third Hilton franchise in Nairobi and the 50th on the continent, five-star upper Hill Hilton Hotel. The taller tower was to be 70 floors tall. It features eleven floors of commercial office space, 46 floors with 210 upscale 1, 2, and 3-bedroom, serviced rental apartments, and nine floors of exclusive rental retail space. The tower’s greatness wouldn’t undermine but include amenities such as a gymnasium, conference facilities, infinity pool, and a luxury spa. The taller tower was to be special incantations and bring beauty and prove that it’s the beast of the continent. It would include a roof-top helipad that could allow chopper directly from and to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport that is 16 Kilometers away from the construction site.
Construction and Funding of The Pinnacle Towers.
The Pinnacle towers needed US$200 million to be erected. Of the total amount required for the project, the developers contributed US$50 million and the balance borrowed from Kenyan banks and Afreximbank. The major contractor is China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC). However, the project that was to cost a whopping US$200 million, now is stalled with debris and water filling up an excavation that had been dug to accommodate a four-level basement.
Safety Concern and the Gaping Hole Pinnacle Towers
The residents have complained to the authorities about the effects the abandoned site is imposing on their lives. Some have reported that the site is affecting its structure by imposing cracks attributed to the unearthed area.
The National Construction Authority (NCA) kept quiet about the issue raised by the residents.
The NCA failed to comment on this particular issue but instead gave a general notice that read;
“Developers with abandoned construction sites and deep excavations shall present to the authority a structural integrity report from a structural engineer within 30 days from the date of this notice and a plan to proceed with works.”
“In the absence of the report, the authority will recommend necessary remedial action including but not limited to demolition and or repossession of the land by the government of Kenya in line with the conditions of the title,” it added.
The Cat and Mouse Game.
If the construction was to go as planned, it could have been done by the end of last year. However, three years down the line, the loft dream is stuck under the ground as developers run in circles as the authorities pursue them.
There is a lot that has gone on since then. Restless court battles, threats of arrest for the developers’ rumors of mooted change of the design are the pillars that were seen building up. The Pinnacle towers, just like that, failed to take off.
Maurice Akech, The National Construction Authority Executive Director, this week, sent a warning to the Jabavu Village Limited, Dubai-based White Lotus Group, together with the real estate arm of Hass Petroleum Group. They were responsible for developing the skyscraper.
Sweet Pie Turned Sour.
“The authority hereby orders the developer, Jabavu Village Limited, of the construction site on Plot LR No 31/219 in Upper Hill, Nairobi County, to immediately undertake remedial actions to restore the site and that of the neighboring properties within 14 days of the date of this notice,” wrote Akech.
“Jabavu Village Limited is further notified that in the event of failure to comply with this order within the stipulated timeline, the authority will recommend prosecution to the fullest extent of the law,” she warned.
This is not the first time the developers of the Pinnacle tower threatened. The threats started in 2017 when the construction was to start. They are probably used to search threats since no action has been taken since the threats were issued.
In February 2019, the High Court issued a warrant of arrest for Poosapati Ramachandra Raju Sita and Mohamud Mahat after failing to appear in court. The duos are the real estate tycoons behind the tower’s construction that now is a threat to the individuals in Upper Hill.
The dispute began when legal action was taken against Hass Petroleum by James Mugoya, a Ugandan tycoon. A trust formed by former United Arab Emirates leader Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The duos sued Hass Petroleum Group, claiming to own part of the land the skyscraper was constructed.
Several court orders have bogged up the Pinnacle tower. Maybe it will never make it to the skies, at least not fast enough as we expected it.