The first sod has been turned for the development of a new R130 million City Lodge hotel in Waterfall City, the massive multi-use project that is being developed in Midrand by Atterbury Property Developments.
The 150-room hotel, the 56th in the City Lodge Hotels portfolio, is scheduled to be opened towards the end of next year.
City Lodge chairman Bulelani Ngcuka said yesterday that 350 to 450 people would be employed during the construction of the hotel and, once built, about 60 permanent jobs would be created.
“This is a very serious contribution to the economy of this country,” he said.
Ngcuka said the group had decided to have a sod-turning ceremony for the commencement of construction on the hotel because the group had not had much development in the country since 2010 and believed it was important for the group “to give notice to others that we are back in town”.
He said the group had spent the past few years establishing a position outside South Africa and now had two hotels in Kenya and had built another in Gaborone in Botswana.
Chief executive Clifford Ross said the group had not developed any hotels in South Africa since 2010 because there was an oversupply of hotel rooms following the 2010 World Cup and a lack of demand caused by the after-effects of the global financial crisis.
But Ross said the group hoped to commence with construction of a 90-room Road Lodge in Pietermaritzburg by the end of this year and be able to make an announcement about a few more hotels in Africa early next year.
The City Lodge Waterfall City will increase the group’s room numbers to 6 905 in South Africa, Kenya and Botswana.
The hotel is being developed as part of a long-term land and building lease agreement with R40m of the total development value to be spent on furniture, fittings and equipment.
The hotel is being built at the entrance to the Waterfall City development, about 300m from the Allandale off-ramp on the N1 freeway between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The hotel will comprise a ground floor and four upper levels and is expected to complement the group’s 118-room Town Lodge Midrand, located less than 1km away within the Waterfall Park office complex.
City Lodge Waterfall City will be the second time the group has partnered with developer Atterbury Property Developments, a division of Attacq, which will list on the JSE on Monday. It partnered with Atterbury for the development of City Lodge Lynnwood within the Lynnwood Bridge mixed-use complex in Pretoria, which opened in 2010.
Waterfall City is one of Africa’s biggest multi-use property developments and so far has 1.7 million square metres of developable land approved.
It is being developed around the R3.5 billion super-regional Mall of Africa shopping centre situated within the 311ha Waterfall Business Estate.
Development on this 116 000m2 mall has begun. It is due to commence trading in the first half of 2016.
City Lodge shares fell 0.31 percent to close at R127 on the JSE yesterday.