Tuesday, September 3, 2013

That Sinkor Feeling: The Two Monrovias

In babbling on about Monrovia's divergent real estate markets and how it is similar to, and different from, the phenomena in other African cities, it occurred to me that some visuals would help illustrate the on-going building boom in the city, which has been seemingly increasing in the last half-decade. I've previously run similar photoposts here (All Photos ©Matthew Jones). 

One of the taller towers going up, an 8-story tower on 8th Street and Gardiner Avenues, part of a larger, 4-building development going up in phases across the street, facing the beach. I think it's nearly complete now but it took about an extra year to get it finish. Whether by lack of capital or other construction constraints, delays like this are pretty common here and elsewhere in African real estate development.

The architectural plan of the same tower, showing the 2-apartments-per-floor layout. 

One of the more noticeable examples of the densification of Sinkor is on Payne Avenue at 19th Street near the side entrance to JFK, where two recently-constructed towers, mainly apartments but also the local of the iLab tech NGO, were joined this past dry season by a third building, bulging up in between the earlier two. 

While Mamba Point and the city center have fewer available lots, this tall building at the top of Sekou Toure Avenue, seen at the center. Sekou Toure, home of many of the UN Agency offices, is something of the Turtle Bay of Monrovia. And while most diplomatic missions have decamped from Mamba Pint to Sinkor, the US Embassy and EU Delegation compounds are still nearby, in addition to the perennial hotel, restaurant, and nightlife options of Mamba Point.

The Naresh Brothers Building, completed in early 2012, is right at the center of Sinkor, 15th Street and Tubman Boulevard. While the building doesn't have a pool, its balconies have great views across the city, and its across the street from the Royal Hotel as well as other restaurants and supermarkets.
Similarly hidden on a side-street of Sinkor, this building went up on 11th street near the beach in just a few months in late 2012. The area is still characterized by informal structures, vacant lots with old cars, and abandoned buildings housing squatters, including the former Ghanaian embassy building. Increasingly in the last few years, however, these corners of Sinkor have been transformed into walled compounds with multistory apartment blocks like this.

 The grandaddy of them all has to be the 3-tower beachfront complex between 13th and 14th streets. Now home to the Swedish and Knights of Malta diplomatic missions, reportedly the British mission is set to move here any day now when it is formally upgraded to a full Embassy. There's a massive pool and other typical amenities, although, like many compounds, there isn't much space for parking. I took this in 2012 when they were still going up, but the buildings have been complete for about 10 months now.

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