Durban - The who’s who of the business, political and social scene came out to play on Friday night as businessman Vivian Reddy launched the first phase of the R4.5 billion Radisson Blu Hotel in uMhlanga.
Dressed to the nines, attendees pulled out all the stops as they brought Lagoon Drive to a standstill. More than 400 high-profile guests including King Misuzulu kaZwelithini, Miss South Africa 2021, Lalela Mswane, the “Housewives of Durban”, the Presidency, Premier Sihle Zikalala and Cabinet ministers were in attendance.
The Ocean Mall, the second phase of the hotel, yet to be launched was expected to have international shops, such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and international restaurants.
During his speech, Reddy, a majority shareholder of the 27-storey skyscraper which included residential units, and a mall said the five-star hotel has 207 rooms, a 600-seater conference venue and six meeting rooms.
Reddy said 35% of the project belonged to more than 23 000 shareholders, who were ordinary people who invested.
“The project, which took seven years, was difficult to get off the ground. There were over 400 objections and other challenges where we had to relocate clubhouses, the main stormwater pipe that goes right through to the ocean, the post office and other units that were based at this location had to be removed,” he said.
Reddy said more than 26 000 people would be employed when the project has been completed. Zikalala said the development ticked all the boxes of stimulating and propelling economic growth.
“Radisson Blu is the silver lining for the KwaZulu-Natal economy after a cruel season. Radisson Blu is an African dream – the magic of new beginnings,” said Zikalala, adding that the project would catapult the growth of uMhlanga, Dube Tradeport and the Zimbali northern corridor to even greater heights as a blue chip investment destination.
Hotel bookings were set to open on Tuesday