Construction of Workers’ Dormitory for Hawassa Industrial Park Begins

ADDIS ABABA – Cornerstone Development Group (CDG), a private developer, is set to build Hawassa Village Workers Dormitory in Hawassa Industrial Park at a cost of 600 million US dollars.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the village community in the city, located 273 km south of Addis Ababa, was held on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

The Workers’ Dormitory will have capacity to house 6,500 local workers of the Industrial Park, says the developer.

The entire complex will have 13 buildings, various sports facilities, plenty of green space, center quadrants with stores, banks, and other amenities to completely accommodate industrial workers on-site with a focus on optimal comfort.

The Hawassa Industrial Park is a textile-focused, cutting-edge industrial park that has attracted over 21 companies over the years.

The Workers’ Dormitory will have capacity to house 6,500 local workers of the Industrial Park.

Every day, approximately 30,000 employees, of whom 85% are women, walk three to five kilometres to and from work as housing is unaffordable within the city.

The lack of affordable and adequate housing that is safe and sanitary has been creating a significant challenge for companies efficiency which are forced to add more shifts.

Attrition rates are high, putting a significant impact on manufacturing productivity, they complain.

“Building the Hawassa dormitory, the first of its kind, is a unique opportunity to solve a major problem for Ethiopia’s apparel workers,” said Hal Wright, Chairman of Cornerstone Development Group, in a statement his company issued.

“Currently, they are crammed together in substandard housing a long way from their workplace. Soon they will have a facility in the park which will ease their living concerns” Wright added.

The Dormitory is an innovative and scalable vision realized by CDG, a company formed by American real estate developers with a development portfolio in the billions of dollars with brands such as Extended Stay America, Homestead Village, and EchoStone Housing.

The co-founders of CDG are Sirak Ambaye, real estate and finance expert, and Hal Wright, a pioneer in the extended-stay hotel sector.

Estimated to cost 600 million birr, the construction of the Workers Dormitory is funded by Cornerstone founders, co-financed by KfW, with additional locally financing by Zemen Bank.

The project is expected to be completed by mid-2023.

“We wanted to remove the stigma around worker housing and build a facility that the government and manufacturers would be proud of. But most importantly, the workers would happily call home,” said Sirak Ambaye, CEO of the developer.

“This type of housing is a crucial piece of the puzzle as Ethiopia tries to attract the very best manufacturers across 13 industrial parks in the country,” he added.