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Old June 22nd, 2010, 09:47 AM   #1
abesha
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MEGENAGNA, Addis Ababa | Access Real Estate | U/C

Extremely long article. Just took some main points. http://addisfortune.com/FEATURE-Real...ars%20Time.htm

Real Estate Firm Makes Bold Promises to Finish Apt. in Year’s Time

Quote:
For any curious observer of Addis Abeba’s real estate market, the promise made by managers of Access Capital Services SC, to hand over flats in two five-storey buildings within a year’s time, is indeed unique. Yet, what took the industry by surprise is their pledge to pay back homebuyers the full amount they pay upfront with 15pc annual interest, an amount above the rate banks charge borrowers, when and if the company fails to complete the apartments within a year.

In cases where homebuyers are reluctant to get their money back and want the flats they pay for, Access’s managers promise to pay monthly rental fees of up to 5,000 Br, until the time they hand over these flats to their buyers. The company has been selling these offers, running full-page ads in the newspapers in town, and inserting colourful supplements, with three-dimensional illustrations of the different types of flats.

Managers at Access will deliver the houses on time, they are confident; albeit theirs is a unique commitment. But what attracted many buyers, more than the time in which the developers promised to complete the construction, was the irresistible prices tagged on the different types of flats. The apartments include studios at 365,000 Br, one bedroom units at 495,000 Br, two bedroom units 649,000 Br, and three bedroom units 750,000 Br, including value-added tax (VAT).

Many people, over 23, according to some sources, have already bought these houses; in some cases, there are buyers who bought two or three flats.
.....................

Neither Access Capital Homes nor its subsidiary, Access Real Estate, has leased any plot directly from the City Government. They are rather known for an apartment building under construction adjacent to Nyala Motors. The plot once belonged to an individual who sold his lease rights to Access Real Estate, a public company established two years ago with over 600 shareholders, where Access Capital Services is one of the major shareholders.

The apartment near Megenagna is halfway through the construction phase, but all of the flats are sold out, according to reliable sources.

The second project bearing the name Access and with two blocks comprising 160 flats is planned to be constructed on a 8,233sqm plot, located in Yeka District, in front of the CMC compound. Developers promise to complete the construction work within a year, owing to the construction technology they plan to introduce for the first time in the local housing market. The use of steel structures (as opposed to concrete) and prefabricated magnesium oxide board (instead of bricks or shallow blocks) will drive prices down, for the benefit of homebuyers, they also believe.

Whether or not magnesium oxide board is cheaper than blocks is challenged by engineers in the industry. But, its strength (it is the material used to manufacture pull balls) and the speed in which it is manufactured for assembly is unchallenged. Ethiopia has a bigger deposit of magnesium oxide, in the Adolla area, Oromia Regional State, than the United States and China have, experts believe.

Access Capital Services has entered into a contract with two local sister companies, Living Steel Construction Plc and Ybel Industrial Plc, to be supplied with both steel structures and magnesium oxide boards. Using these materials will make it a pioneering firm in the real estate industry.


The two companies, whose plant is in a huge warehouse inside La Gare Railway Station in Addis Abeba, rented from the Ethio-Djibouti Railway Enterprise, has hired four foreign experts with similar construction experience in Qatar. These experts, from Belgium, the United Kingdom, and South Africa, will train and supervise local employees who will assemble the prefabricated houses at Access’s site in the CMC area, says Yonas Tadesse, general manager of Living Steel Construction Plc.

The building type offers quality, durability and faster and more efficient installation for low-rise residential and non-residential construction, according to Befekadu Asefa, project manager of Living Steel Construction Plc. The boards use materials that can absorb heat and sound, according to Albert Van Tonder, the contracted Belgian. It is also resistant to fire and extreme weather conditions, the managers claim.

The local construction industry is a stranger to this. It is, instead, very familiar with concrete structures and shallow blocks. Both consume huge quantities of cement, whose price has escalated by over 300pc since 2005. And it takes time to put them together.

It is this new technology that will be used for the first time that Access’s managers are banking on to back their promises with. The technology will use less cement than conventional steel and shallow block structures, they believe, leading to reduced overall construction costs, and taking half the time needed for assembly.

“It is great to be a pioneer,” said a real estate developer who will hand over homes in the Lebu area to buyers in a few weeks. “But I would not dare to take that risk.”

The man behind the real estate project and general manager of Access Capital Services, Ermias T. Amelga, is known for his daring initiatives.

Ever since he came back from the United States in the mid-1990s, where he has just been over the past couple of weeks selling his new initiatives, he took over an edible oil mill from the state and turned it into the first water bottling plant, paving the way for the emergence of a new industry that is thriving now. Ermias pushed the limits to re-establish a share dealing group, once operational during the Emperor’s time, but with little success. Although his dreams of forming the first private equity firm may not have taken off in the way he originally planned it, has today’s Access Capital Services SC led the birth of the embryonic share companies market that has flourished.

Ermias was the promoter of what came to be Zemen Bank and is now its board chairman. It is a bank known for introducing bold moves in the banking industry, such as lending based on the viability of projects (away from traditional collateral based loans) and a commercial bank operating with a one branch concept but relying on much technology.

Many bankers in the industry are sceptical about whether these initiatives will work, such as advancing loans without collateralising assets. Yet, they cannot stop admiring his guts and daring moves.

“He thinks of business in the mindset of a US businessperson,” said a businessman resettled from the US in the real estate market.

That mindset is the desire and ability to take risks.


...........

Love this guy. Innovative and a risk-taker.

The Ethiopian construction industry needs to be modernized ASAP, and he's the one who's going to make it happen.





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Old June 22nd, 2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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More pics from their website.



Sold out - 154 units



35 Sold - 96 Units
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 02:30 PM   #3
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My God, it's about damned time. Now that's what I'm talking about. I can't put into words how much every new "condominium" and residential housing units being built down there turn me off. It's just so damned outdated, wasteful and unattractive....not to mention expensive. It's heartening to see that there is at least someone else out there who has seen this need and the archaic nature of Ethiopia's real estate industry.

I had given up and concluded that this is simply beyond the ability or willingness of the construction firms over there to endeavor for something modern. This lead me to consider taking on the task myself. Good to see there is already a trailblazer in place. He did similar things in the Banking sector.

I should point out tho there are still many other sectors left that have been on my mind lately. Next task: landscaping and Sod lawn farming.


by the way, here are a couple videos of a presentation from about 3 years ago made by Access Real Estate. Good to see they are on track with their plans.

http://blip.tv/file/468577

(embedding it seems to show the wrong videos. SSC needs to update its custom embed bb code)
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 02:36 PM   #4
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Has anyone noticed the total lack of creativity and ergonomics with all the new real estate devt projects in Ethiopia? The landscaping work is completely lacking. It has no recreational areas. The building units are just bland in their placement--with random arbitrary arrangement. The landscaping in the condominium compounds is completely flat as opposed to being artificially elevated to give it a "natural" look. Buildings are separated by what seems to be miniaturized streets (which by the way look claustrophobic to me) as opposed to having one gated community feel with a parking compound in between surrounded by landscaping work.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 04:58 PM   #5
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This is wonderful. And the last two, with commercial on the lower floors and residential on the upper... I have only seen things like this for Ethiopia in my dreams!
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 07:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersh View Post
Has anyone noticed the total lack of creativity and ergonomics with all the new real estate devt projects in Ethiopia? The landscaping work is completely lacking. It has no recreational areas. The building units are just bland in their placement--with random arbitrary arrangement. The landscaping in the condominium compounds is completely flat as opposed to being artificially elevated to give it a "natural" look. Buildings are separated by what seems to be miniaturized streets (which by the way look claustrophobic to me) as opposed to having one gated community feel with a parking compound in between surrounded by landscaping work.
Some people hate gated communities. They separate the residents from the city, physically and emotionally.

Some people like being able to step out the door of their building and immediately being part of the city.

This:

image hosted on flickr


versus this:

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Old June 22nd, 2010, 08:39 PM   #7
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Poor choice of words on my part. I didn't mean to concentrate on the gated aspect of it...but more on the communal feel. While it doesn't necessarily have to be gated, the landscaping work and other community amenities that are generally a standard in the west are lacking there.

If they actually had real city streets, that would be one thing. But what they have is these miniaturized streets that give you a claustrophobic feeling as you drive thru them. No side walks. No greenery. No clear separation between the road and the residential unit spaces. Or at the very least nicely designed concrete overlay. Something along the lines of your second pic.

Just look at any condominium units in the west...whether it's the gated ones in the suburbs or the sleek downtown ones. You won't find anything resembling it in Ethiopia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carver02 View Post
Some people hate gated communities. They separate the residents from the city, physically and emotionally.

Some people like being able to step out the door of their building and immediately being part of the city.

This:

image hosted on flickr


versus this:

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Old June 22nd, 2010, 11:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersh View Post
No greenery. No clear separation between the road and the residential unit spaces. Or at the very least nicely designed concrete overlay. Something along the lines of your second pic.

Just look at any condominium units in the west...whether it's the gated ones in the suburbs or the sleek downtown ones. You won't find anything resembling it in Ethiopia.
Hersh,
They do not need to build sidewalks or Landscape the area right away (may be they do not have enough finance) Okay!........BUT, BUT, BUT, why don't they leave enough area for the future work - at least leave a space so that one day in the future others/me will build and construct without a need to demolition whatever they build today - Leave a space at the design level - a basic engineering design / sketch dictates you to leave a "tolerance" in your blue-print to guarantee accuracy............. whoever the city planner is an idiot/DOMA!
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 03:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahadu View Post
Hersh,
They do not need to build sidewalks or Landscape the area right away (may be they do not have enough finance) Okay!........BUT, BUT, BUT, why don't they leave enough area for the future work - at least leave a space so that one day in the future others/me will build and construct without a need to demolition whatever they build today - Leave a space at the design level - a basic engineering design / sketch dictates you to leave a "tolerance" in your blue-print to guarantee accuracy............. whoever the city planner is an idiot/DOMA!
Tell me about it. I think you are talking about something like a Setback, about which you can learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Setback_(land_use)
To be honest, I don't think they have an educated concept of city planning back there....if they do, they are doing a terrible job of demonstrating it.

I have a friend finishing up her masters here in the west who's a city planner. Her and I plan on going to Ethiopia in the next couple years once she's done, in order to address this pressing issue. The only problem is, it's hard to say where to start or how to bring about change. The culture down there is pretty rigid and unwelcoming of new and different ideas. I also studied aerial images of Addis Abeba and other major cities and I must say Addis has got to be the most terribly designed city in the country. Places like Debre Zeyit and Nazret ironically seem to be some of the best organized and designed. They are very perfectly segmented into rectangular blocks and straight streets equally segmented and appropriated throughout the whole city. Check on Google Earth and compare.

I almost feel like it's better to just invest in those place and forget Addis, but the tide isn't going that way so its difficult to do that. But Addis Abeba's design is just abysmal. It's utterly embarrassing.

On an interesting side note: Addis Abeba, Buenos Aires, Argentina is Beautiful and well designed!
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:08 AM   #10
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I mean look at this, China doesn't dick around when it decides to develop. It does it to western standards. You just can't complain.



Show me just ONE set of luxury condo's that look as well built as this AVERAGE Condo in a rural village in China.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 08:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hersh View Post
To be honest, I don't think they have an educated concept of city planning back there....if they do, they are doing a terrible job of demonstrating it.
Well,....as far as I know, they have "locally" educated bunch with Masters and PhD level but with no Global exposition - I doubt they even know what the rest of the country looks like. For someone who was born, bred, educated in Addis and become a planner can't think 1 inch further than his/her nose (Sefer or Mender)- We are naive to expect a footpath or landscaping from these domesticated engineers and planners. They need to be exposed to Tokyo, London or Nairobi at least so that they can appreciate and respect their own field of study. Tour is a Key!!
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 09:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
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The only problem is, it's hard to say where to start or how to bring about change. The culture down there is pretty rigid and unwelcoming of new and different ideas.

Good luck guys!
I call that culture "Left-to-Right: Right-to Left" - completely twisted for the last 3000 Years. Who dares to untangle it??

While dealing with that culture, you have to expect not gray-hair but green-hair all over your head - The Culture Shall Kill You my friend! I will pray for you!
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Old July 18th, 2010, 02:56 PM   #13
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Amharic


English
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Old July 18th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #14
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Resort hotel English
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Old July 18th, 2010, 03:41 PM   #15
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I love those ads. Zeleman Productions do a really good job.

I tried to find a render of the resort hotel (which looks FABULOUS in the video), but you have to register on their site. I'm not sure I want to give my details, but if anyone is willing to do it, you can log in here http://accessresortshotel.com/index....iler/registers.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 06:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahadu View Post
Well,....as far as I know, they have "locally" educated bunch with Masters and PhD level but with no Global exposition - I doubt they even know what the rest of the country looks like. For someone who was born, bred, educated in Addis and become a planner can't think 1 inch further than his/her nose (Sefer or Mender)- We are naive to expect a footpath or landscaping from these domesticated engineers and planners. They need to be exposed to Tokyo, London or Nairobi at least so that they can appreciate and respect their own field of study. Tour is a Key!!
you know, I have come in terms with that. I no longer hope to see Addis becoming the way I always envisioned it. for years and years I wished for Addis to look as nice as possible. planned, clean and also accessible. but it seems like things are going the opposite direction. whenever I see pictures of other cities such as Bahir Dar and Awassa, I'm amazed by the potential. maybe those cities deserve more attentions. from designing to developing. I have officially given up on Addis (at least for now). the lack of sidewalks, the number of ugly gates, the dirty streets coupled with it's citizens lack of interest/knowledge to use it properly drives me nuts. things that don't require a lot of money but a little imagination/awareness to fix. people were designing better cities in ancient times around the world for god sake. Addis loses with its planners.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 07:14 PM   #17
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after watching the ad, I also want to add that it's a great thing they're building it with steel. steel is what was used to build Chicago, New York and the likes. I'm actually surprised this very building is the first of it's kind. great job nonetheless.
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Old July 18th, 2010, 07:14 PM   #18
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Resort hotel English
I like this idea. Having a 5 star accommodation for a small family that wants to stay for a few weeks is perfect.
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Old July 19th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #19
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Resort hotel English

I have so much respect for this guy - Mr. Ermias Amalga! He is a true visionary in every way. Good for Him!
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Old July 19th, 2010, 11:08 AM   #20
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I tried to find a render of the resort hotel (which looks FABULOUS in the video), but you have to register on their site. I'm not sure I want to give my details, but if anyone is willing to do it, you can log in here http://accessresortshotel.com/index....iler/registers.










The brown room is a One Bedroom unit.
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