Former UAE President's palace in Seychelles earmarked for luxury hotel

General |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | April 29, 2024, Monday @ 16:51| 6754 views

The owners of the palace of former UAE President Sheikh Khalifa at La Misere plan to convert it into a 54-roomed luxury resort. (Vicuna, Flickr) Photo Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0 

Developers presented a five-star luxury resort project to be made at the palace of former UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who passed away in 2022, to members of the public at the Grand Anse Mahe district administration's office on Saturday.

It was revealed in the meeting that the owners of the building at La Misere plan to convert it into a 54-room luxury resort that would also include six villas, and construction is expected to be completed in August 2026.

This initial meeting with residents and other concerned citizens is part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) carried out before any such projects are undertaken.

ECO-SOL is the local company carrying out the EIA for this project and through the various presentations, it revealed that the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB) granted the developers approval to proceed with the EIA in 2023.

Those attending the meeting were also informed that in order to build the new establishment, certain parts of the palace will be demolished, while others will be elevated to the same height as the tallest building of the palace.

One of the establishment's features will be a swimming pool on the roof.

During the meeting, one of the attendees, Nelson Renaud, expressed his concerns at the fact that SIB had granted permission to proceed to the next step of carrying out an EIA.

"You were given a plot of land to stay there, live there and not build a hotel," he said.

Sheikh Khalifa bought the former United States' satellite tracking station land for $395,000 in 2005.

Renaud said SIB should not have given this plot of land to do that and expressed his concern that "SIB is asking all Seychellois to develop their plot of land in a sustainable manner" causing him to ask the developers whether the project was one that would be sustainable.

Other issues raised by people who attended were water pollution, the endangerment of endemic species in the area such as the Seychelles white-eye (Zwazo linet) bird, and noise and vibration disturbances.

The developer's legal counsel, Basil Siddiqui, asked that the project be looked at with an open mind.

"Do not be overly cynical. Look at the conduct of the project's particular owner. This particular project owner has actively taken part for two decades in the development of infrastructure and other amenities in this country," he added.

Meanwhile, once the EIA is completed, interested parties will have a fortnight to view the document.

Tags: Seychelles Investment Board, environmental impact assessment


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