Unguja/Dar, (The Southern African Times) – Zanzibar will in the next few years be home to a $1.3 billion (about Sh3 trillion) commercial tower that could change the face of the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean archipelago.
A joint venture of Tanzania’s AICL Group and Edinburgh Crowland Management Ltd yesterday signed a contract with New York and Dubai-based architect xCassia that will see the latter come up with architectural designs for what will be the tallest building in eastern, central and southern Africa.
When completed, the 70-storey building will be the second tallest in Africa behind Iconic Tower in Egypt, which covers a total area of 65,000 square metres, with two underground floors and 78 floors above the ground.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Zanzibar’s Minister of State in the President’s Office (Economy and Investment), Mr Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga, said the project was a big step towards building the isles’ blue economy.
“Its implementation supports the government’s efforts in inviting more local and foreign investors to the isles,” he said.
Crowland Management Ltd CEO Emmanuel Umoh said the building, to be known as Zanzibar Domino Commercial Tower, is expected to be an iconic feature that will facilitate tourism and culture and offer business opportunities.
“The Zanzibar Domino is a unique project which is exceptionally well-suited to our investment philosophy of providing our investors with superior returns through exceptional schemes as well as strategic socioeconomic projects that leverage prosperity, people and the planet,” he said.
According to the founder and design director of xCassia, Mr Jean-Paul Cassia, the idea to construct the building on a man-made island was a decade-long dream, and became a reality after a site and investors were found.
“First sketched in Paris in 2009 after my late father, two sons and I played a round of dominos, I dreamed of building this project for over a decade.
“Between its innate mathematical order and geometries found in nature, its pure lines and proportions that evoke growth, progress and freedom, it had all the bearings of an icon anyone could remember and draw on a paper napkin,” he said.
The amount to be invested in the project is almost Sh1.2 trillion more than Zanzibar’s 2021/22 total budget that was approved in June.
The Zanzibar House of Representatives approved a budget of Sh1.829 trillion in June.
According to a statement by xCassia, Zanzibar Domino Tower will be a key tourist spot, offering visitors, residents and businesses entertainment, culture and conferencing services.
Before Iconic Tower in Egypt became the tallest building in Africa earlier this year, the position was held by the 227-metre, 56-floor Leonardo Building in Sandton, South Africa.
After its completion in four years, Domino Tower will push Leonardo Building down to third place.
Locally, the tallest building in the country currently is Tanzania Ports Authority Tower standing 162 metres with 40 floors, while in East Africa the tallest is the Global Trade Centre, a 43-storey skyscraper in Nairobi.
Linked by a high and low bridge structure, the development is planned over three key sites – the Arrivals Plaza, Zanzibar Domino and Island Resort, each with distinct identities, and will offer visitors a pathway in a seamless curated journey from arrival to destination.
The first part of the bridge is designed to fully enhance the experience of reaching the island from the Arrivals Plaza, the Zanzibar Domino Bridge provides the backbone to distribute all transport and key services.
Then the Zanzibar Domino which will be the center of the man-made island is located 1.5km off the main coastal road and radiates out over a 250m radius within which a marina is created to receive incoming yachts and tourism vessels.
The tower will comprise 560 units located in two branded residences that rise up towards the hotel apartments, a five and six-star hotel with a total of 360 keys, while other features such as resorts and wedding chapel can be accessed privately by either helicopter, boat or by bridge.