HomeLocal NewsUniversity splashes $1,5m on motel

University splashes $1,5m on motel


CHINHOYI — Stakeholders have expressed mixed feelings over the recent acquisition of Orange Grove Motel by the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT).

Authoritative sources told NewsDay the institution last month paid former owner John Miles $1,5 million for the motel situated on a seven-hectare prime piece of land.

The university already owns the Chinese-built state-of-the-art CUT Hotel.

CUT director of marketing and public relations Musekiwa Tapera on Wednesday confirmed the development, although he refused to give details of the deal.

“We have acquired Orange Grove Motel as part of our expansion drive to increase space for our developmental projects,” Tapera said.

He said the facility which has since been closed would undergo a major facelift before it was reopened.

Tapera said CUT would retain some of the services the motel provided to the public since inception in 1972.

“We have long-term plans to turn around the facility into a world-class conference centre, but will also provide space for teaching and learning,” he said.

In addition to buying several houses for its staff, last year CUT also bought a business complex in the town’s CBD where it has housed the Faculty of Art, Design and Engineering Technology.

The move saw several small and medium enterprises operating from the premises being thrown out.

However, the takeover of the motel has been met with scepticism from various stakeholders, who feel one of the town’s major social amenities would be shut out to the public.

The institution has been keeping details of the acquisition under wraps following a flurry of protest phone calls from the public who were against the move, sources said.

Affirmative Action Group Mashonaland West president Clifford Hlupeko accused the university of elbowing out aspiring hoteliers desperate to enter the fast-growing and lucrative hospitality sector.

Hlupeko said Miles should have sold the property to the 30 affected employees, some of whom served the motel since its inception.

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