A proprietor of a landmark building near Mexico Square aspires to finance a series of skyscraper projects in Addis Abeba estimated to cost close to eight billion Birr.

Temesgen Kefyalew, a businessman behind the construction of Debrework Tower, plans to erect four skyscrapers, with the tallest building designed to have 52 floors. The others will be 42 storeys each, intended to serve as mixed-use buildings.

Temesgen is a well-known figure in the business community. A major shareholder and general manager of Jerr Plc, incorporated in 2004 with a capital of 95 million Br, Temesgen is an influential player in the salt supply chain.

He plans to erect the four high-rise towers on a 10,000sqm plot adjacent to Debrework Tower, disclosed Berhanu Bogale, a representative of the project owner.

Temesgen was not available for comment to discuss the source of finance to pay for these projects, despite repeated attempts.

The projects are designed by SLIK Architekten GmbH, a Switzerland-based firm. Bamacon Engineering, a grade-one contractor incorporated in 2001, was awarded the contract to carry out structural works two months ago.

"They've got a good track record in Addis Abeba," said Berhanu. "We thought we should work with a local contractor."

Bamacon constructed the Omedad Building on Africa Avenue (Bole Road), Century Mall in the Gurd Shola area, and Enate Building on Guinea Conakry Street. The contractor must dig 23 metres deep for the buildings' foundation and begin installing 380 foundation piles. It has finalised shoring, a work undertaken to protect the main structural elements of the building from the risk of collapse.

Laying the foundation will need 20,000 cubic meters of concrete, according to Dawit Nigussie, the project coordinator at Bamacon.

The contractor plans to erect a batching plant near the site and manufacture 700 cubic meters of concrete, Dawit disclosed. Land for the plant has not been secured yet; Bamacon plans to use its existing plants located around Bole Bulbula.

Berhanu says the structural work for the towers is estimated to cost up to three billion Birr and is planned to be completed in three years.

The building will be the tallest in Ethiopia, surpassing the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia's 48-storey skyscraper erected near the capital's fast-changing financial district. Several commercial banks are setting up their headquarters in Sengatera, along Ras Abebe Aregay Street. Last month, Nib Bank inaugurated a 37-storey tower in an area dubbed Addis Abeba's Wall Street. Hibret Bank has also moved into a 32-storey headquarters next door. Zemen Bank is expected to do the same in the coming months.

Although high rises are popping up across the city, delays in construction and the associated escalated costs remain a headache for contractors and project owners.

Delays are mainly caused by poor planning and the failure to complete designs before construction is begun, says Haben Abraha, a construction expert with over a decade of experience.

The initial schedule to complete CBE`s headquarters launched in 2015 was two years. Contracted to the China State Construction Engineering (CCECC), the building is yet to open for service after consuming much higher than the five billion Birr project cost estimated at the launching. Rising construction costs are issues that contribute to delays.

Construction costs have skyrocketed from 25,000 Br a square metre to 40,000 Br the last year, Haben believes.

"This is a major concern for contractors and their clients," said Haben.


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