“Kenya’s Miami”: Africa’s tallest building at Watamu Beach

25 September 2018

Its façade inspired by traditional art motifs, a 370-metre-high tower containing luxury suites and a 24-hour casino has been proposed for the Kenyan resort of Watamu Beach, near the town of Malindi.

The Palm Exotjca, near a national park, would be the tallest building in Africa if plans come to fruition. The 61-storey building, designed by Rome-based architect Lorenzo Pagnini, will cater to “the discerning traveller who appreciates life’s finer things”, with a 24-hour casino, 270-bed hotel, shopping mall and nightclub.

There would also be 180 serviced apartments, offices, a conference centre and restaurants. The developer is Palm Exotjca, a consortium of investors from New York, South Africa and 89-year-old Italian billionaire Franco Rosso, who owns hotels in Italy and Switzerland, as well as a chain of beach resorts in Malindi.

Rosso told Kenyan website Business Daily in March that Malindi could soon become Kenya’s Miami. He said: “The beautiful beach, a marine park neighbouring Gedi Ruins, Arabuko Sokoke and Tsavo East National Park have made the historical resort town a tourism destination.”

No start date for the project has been announced, but not everyone is pleased with the plan. A petition calling on the Kenyan government to cancel the project, on grounds that the tower is too big and unsuited to the locale, was set up recently on, and had 1,126 signatures at time of writing.

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