Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
THE Harare City Council has spurned a lucrative deal in which African Sun Limited offered to buy a piece of land close to Crowne Plaza Hotel for $1,7 million. The land is attached to the Harare Gardens. It is underutilised with a swimming pool in a sorry state and a car park that is not bringing anything meaningful to council by way of revenue. The hotel wanted to build a multi-million-dollar conference centre on the piece of land.
According to the recent minutes of the Finance Committee meeting circulated among councillors in a special council meeting on Wednesday last week, the deal could have seen council earning $200 000 annually.
Council is currently in a financial mess as evidenced by its failure to even pay employees their salaries.
Councillors turned down the deal which augurs well with its ambition to achieve a World Class City by 2025.
The hotel had also offered to revamp Harare Gardens to meet international standards. African Sun Limited intended to expand Crowne Plaza Hotel to include a state-of the-art 10 000-seater conference centre.
It also wanted to establish an international themed open-air restaurant and a bar.
The hotel offered to refurbish Les Brown Swimming Pool and the car park.
The country is losing potential tourism revenue because it does not have facilities to host major conferences.
This has seen such conferences being hosted by South Africa which has numerous such facilities.
African Sun Limited wanted to buy two hectares out of Harare Gardens’ 17,5 hectares.
The piece of land it wanted to buy stretches north into Harare Gardens covering Les Brown Swimming Pool.
It also ate into the car park.
Clr Manyenyeni referred the matter back to the Finance and Development Committee.
The committee advised that during the tour it noted that the major building would be a 10-000 seater conference centre and most of the land would comprise of a garden park.
It was noted that the remaining part of the park comprising Harare Gardens would be revamped and maintained by the hotel on behalf of council.
Africa Sun, the owners of Monomotapa Crowne Plaza, were getting into partnership with an international hptel cahin Legacy Hotel.
A similar project has been built by the hotel in Sandton, South Africa.