Addis is changing faster than you can say its name. New neighborhoods are popping up everywhere driven by endless construction of homes, offices and shopping areas.
Old Airport – so named due to the old military airport (now largely occupied by the Addis Ababa Golf Club) – has long been known as one of the most affluent areas of Addis. It has always been a hotbed of diplomatic residences and continues to be a favorite area for expat families in no small measure due to the presence of the International Community School within it. There are also many quiet, tree lined neighborhoods in Old Airport’s interior areas, a legacy of the influential families that used to live there as well as the up and coming middle class of Addis which in older times showed more interest in this area than the newer upscale neighborhoods in Bole. Although the street on which Bisrate Gabriel is found has seen a great deal of commercial construction, the relative insulation of Old Airport’s interior areas and their still exclusive feel is no doubt another major factor that is responsible for some of the highest residential valuations in the city.
A 500m2 compound in Old Airport can cost over USD $1 million regardless of what’s built on it if it is located close to ICS. Rent for an older villa on such a compound would likely range from $2-3,000 while a newer villa on the same property can easily command $4-6,000 and even more.
Old Airport is bounded to the west by Mekanisa, Sar Bet and Qera while to the south lie the relatively newer areas of Lebbu and Jemo. To the west you can find Alem Bank, Bethel and Ayertena while in the north is Tor Hailoch & Kolfe and on the northeast is the Lideta area, now much more accessible from Old Airport on the new thoroughfare that leads directly from the roundabout (named Karl Roundabout) at Bisrate Gabriel Tele to the roundabout by the Federal Court, very close to Lideta church itself. The road leads straight through to Sengatera and Mercato after the roundabout under the new LRT tracks.
What’s New in Old Airport
Next to Kazanchis, Old Airport now hosts the highest density of higher end apartment buildings in the city in its Bisrate Gabriel enclave. New thoroughfares built in the past decade now link Old Airport directly to Lideta in the north and Jemo in the south giving easier access and less congested routes out of the area than has traditionally been possible.
As in much of Addis, older compounds are being subsumed by new housing which in Old Airport tends to be even more massive and luxurious than elsewhere. One of the largest can be found across a small street from ICS, a massive White House look alike which was reportedly purchased by the UAE’s diplomatic mission for $30 million.
Kaldis has at least 3 locations, Shoa has 4 (including the one by Qetena Hulet) and Laphto Mall hosts one of the city’s few bowling alleys. Notable restaurants include Arcobaleno, Four Seasons, Il Poste, Aba Guben and of course the venerable Samet which has been in the same location for more than 30 years.