Edna mall cinema closes after 13 years of service
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) notified the tenants of Edna Malla new deadline for eviction. The bank’s letter dated December 7, 2021 notified tenants to evacuate within a month’s time.
The new deadline came after the tenants failed to evacuate within the first deadline the bank had set previously.
East Steel Plc, the Chinese firm which bought Edna mall from CBE back in July 2021, could not receive the property, as the tenants missed the first deadline set for early November.
East Steel secured the title deed for the seven-story prime property, after winning a bid for 810 million birr, more than twice the floor price. But the process of transferring the title deed is yet to be finalized due to the suspension of such services by the order of the government.
CBE auctioned the property after Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction Plc (TACON), the former owner of Edna Mall, failed to honor the loans it took from CBE, using the building as collateral. CBE proceeded to auction the property after Tekleberhan Ambaye fled the country, reporting TACON as bankrupt.CBE proceeded to foreclose in August 2021.
The tenants, of which most have established businesses spanning over a decade, have rental contracts with the previous owner, TACON.
But TACON managers, who have administration offices and other businesses, including cinema equipment, and a gaming zone inside the building, fled without clearing the offices or naming representatives, another headache for the bank to transfer the property to East Steel.
Over two dozens of tenants, who have been running diversified businesses inside the property, have hoped to continue their rental contracts under the new owner. Nonetheless, eviction seems unavoidable; since Ethiopia’s commercial code does not allow a renting business for foreigners. East Steel is expected to use the building as an office.
“The CBE has the responsibility to transfer the building tothe new owner, while it has no duty to administer the rent contract, which is supposed to be handled by the buyer,” said Abdulkerim Dawud, director for Corporate Litigation and Foreclosure at CBE.
According to tenants The Reporter talked to, losing their businesses established over years is not easy.
“It is not simple to find a new business space that can be as vibrant as this. The Chinese company is willing to rent for us, but the bank insisted on eviction,” said Yonatan Afera, an Electronics Company owner, who has been renting in Edna Mall for the past two years.
Regarding TACON’s businesses inside the property, a solution is not in sight. These businesses, including the gaming zone and the cinema, have been closed for the past months.
“We sold only the Edna Mall building, not TACON’s businesses inside it,” said Abdulkerim.
Built on 2,000 square meters in Bole sub-city in 2008; Edna Mall houses shops, entertainments, offices, a cinema, restaurants, a gym, an underground parking, among others.