Kotoka Airport lands were not for sale – GACL Featured

By By Richard Kofi Boahen December 23, 2019 16592 70234 comments

Ghana Airports Company Ltd has refuted claims in parts of the Ghanaian press that management was concluding terms with developers for a sale agreement, worth US$40 million, for a parcel of prime real estate near Kotoka International Airport in Accra. The land was to be used for construction of offices and hotels, in the same way the Airport City project was executed, the reports said.

“Contrary to wrong assertions … of there being a concrete jungle, the Airport City II is currently at a conceptual stage and management has every intention to keep it green and environmentally friendly,” the company said in a press release issued in Accra, reacting to recent publications.

According to GACL, “The plan is that it will be a multi-functional green space, with a variety of public uses, ensuring that the environmental impact of the project would be minimal and achieve the greenest development ever undertaken in the city of Accra.”

Prime site

In various news reports, the company was said to have reached an advanced stage with negotiations to sell to a private developer about seven acres of land at Kotoka International Airport earmarked for a green park – a process which had prompted the Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, to halt the process, the reports said.

Prime lands around Ghana’s main airport were sold in 1999 to enable the construction of Airport City.

An acre of land was leased to private developers for 45 years, with the option of extending by a further five years, for US$200,000, with no royalties tied to the sale.

Rebuttal

But Ghana Airports Company Limited says the reports have had an adverse impact on prospective investors in the Airport City II project and on GACL’s current financial partners, affecting the ongoing restructuring of the company’s commercial loan facility.

“The reputational damage caused by the publications on the competency of management in the running and operations of the airport has been equally adverse,” it said.

Airport City

The Airport City concept was conceived under the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority two decades ago for the Accra Redevelopment Project. Its main objective was to develop ancillary infrastructure required at Kotoka International Airport.

At the time, the land was occupied by squatters. The initial project concept included payment of royalties, but this had to be abandoned because investors at the time were not keen on real-estate development in Accra and the cost of the lease was considered very high. The subleases however contain provisions for renewal which are subject to terms and conditions, to be negotiated at the time of renewal.

Two decades on, the 43-acre site has been transformed into an arena with impressive architecture and is arguably the most favoured business destination address in the capital – Airport City I.

Green heritage

Airport City II, which is only at the concept stage for now, seeks to safeguard the landscape heritage with a protection or relocation plan. Infrastructure development in the project enclave will be planned and controlled, architects of the project say.

The project will take into account the location of trees and other vegetation, ensuring that the environmental impact of the redevelopment will be minimal and achieve the greenest development ever undertaken in the city of Accra.

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