If there were a competition for badly timed business ventures, almost every company that had planned to expand last year would be a contender.

A prime candidate would be the consortium that was poised to open a large hotel in Johannesburg’s pricey business and shopping zone just as the Covid-19 lockdowns closed offices and banned leisure travel. When their R175m investment in The Catalyst Hotel in Sandton began to look redundant there were three choices: turn it into apartments to rent or buy, put it all on ice or open as an hotel anyway and greet any guests like royalty...

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