- Sh650 million investment crumbles to dust after hotelier and new landlords failed to agree on payment.
The multimillion shilling Shade Hotel in Karen has finally been closed, bringing to a bitter end a decade-long court battle pitting the investor and his landlord.
At the heart of the row was a five-acre piece of land, whose ownership passed on to the children following the death of their father, and upon which a 74-year-old hotelier, Mr David Thairu, had put up a hotel based on a lease agreement with the initial owner.
The vicious legal battle, spanning more than 10 years, over arbitrary increase of rent by the new owners has eventually ended up in a messy and forceful eviction of the investor with the demolition of structures put up by Mr Thairu.
The Sh650 million facility located at the border of Nairobi and Kajiado counties is no more after earth movers reduced the once-dazzling hotel to rubble. The proprietor is now counting loses running into millions of shillings while the fate of the more than 250 employees at the facility has been put in jeopardy.
Huge lorries block the entrance to the facility, established in 1982, while the once green and spacious lawns are now bare and lacklustre patches of grass. Where it was once vibrant and welcoming, visitors are now only met with an eerie silence.
The popular facility that was frequented by city bigwigs is said to have been turning in a tidy profit especially on weekends, according to the investor who also operates two other facilities in Ruiru and Machakos. Shade was said to have been serving between 250 and 500 customers per day with 20 self-contained rooms charged at Sh4,500 per night.
The investor has expressed concerns that the stand-off will cause him further losses as some of the bookings including several conferences and wedding receptions for the next one month which had been done, have had to be cancelled.
“The land dispute has left 250 workers jobless. Some had worked in the facility for more than 15 years. Some frequent clients who had signed contracts of being supplied with food and events including using the facility for weddings have complained and want their money back,” said Mr Thairu.
Mr Thairu said they had an agreement with the late landlord in the early 1980s who gave him the two acres to build a hotel and had even promised to sell the land to him but he died before that could happen.