Retail space is at the centre of new real estate developments in the country. This year tens of billion of shillings have been sunk into the retail space, much of it during the first half of the year.
Although the growth in construction is slowing, supply of commercial space continues to rise. In Nairobi alone, building plans valued at Sh168.76 billion were approved by the city county in nine months to September, a growth of Sh9.94 billion or 5.89 per cent over Sh158.82 billion in the same period last year.
Shopping malls are, nonetheless, becoming a key thrust for developers of mega projects. This is largely driven by the expanding middle class who have disposable income. The cost of retail space is estimated at an average of $48 [Sh4,900] per square metre,according to Knight Frank.
Some of the major projects, completed or ongoing, that have shaped the real estate retail landscape include:
1. Garden City Mall
The Sh22.7 billion mega shopping mall, along the Thika Superhighway, opened doors for business under the first phase on May 28. The two-phase project is the largest so far in East and Central Africa, before the Centum Investments-owned Two Rivers Mall in Runda is cleared for business.
The first phase has 33,000 square metres of retail space. Actis Fund of the UK is the developer of the Garden City – a mixed-use development on 32 acres of land.
The retail space comes with 76 two- and three-bedroom apartments and townhouses.
Upon completion of the second phase in 2017, Garden City will have 50,000 square metres of retail space, 420 residences in apartments and townhouses, 20,000 square metres of office, a hotel and a parking space on three acres.
2. The Two Rivers Mall
The mixed-use development is touted as the largest in East and Central Africa on completion, which has been pushed forward to next March from earlier time frame of October.
Located in the diplomatic blue zone in the neighbourhoods of upmarket Runda and Gigiri, Two Rivers is valued at close to Sh17 billion.
It sits on 102 acres, acquired from the famous Koinange family for an estimated Sh1 billion.
Centum, the developer, in April sold 38.9 per cent stake to China’s Aviation Industry Corporation – the lead contractor for the project.
The project will a five-star hotel and upmarket residences,among other modern development facilities.
3. Comesa Shopping Mall
The mall will be the biggest in Nairobi’s Eastleigh, a popular shopping destination for traders looking for affordable clothes, furniture and electronics in East Africa. The Sh3 billion project, whose construction started in December 2014 after court battles over ownership of the land from 2010, sits on 6.2 acres of land. It is projected to add 120,000 square metres into the market. Comesa is owned by Darasa Investments, associated with businessman Ibrahim Noor Hillowly.
4. Karen Waterfront
Owned by the secretive, but rich, family of the late Nelson Muguku – the billionaire farmer who made a fortune from poultry farming and became a top individual shareholder in Equity Bank – the project quietly broke ground in the first half of the year.
The 50-acre project will avail 40,000 square metres of retail space in the posh Karen Triangle area, upon completion at a date which is yet to be made public.
5. Ananas Mall in Thika
The 90,000 square-metre mall opened for business on February 28. The mall, along Garissa Road, is owned by a group of investors led by Chetan Shah – the director of Capwell Industries which makes the Soko Ugali maize flour and Pearl, Mwea and Renee rice brands. It is value is believed to be higher than the conservative estimate of Sh500 million.
6. Crystal Rivers in Athi River
Owned by Safaricom Staff Pension Scheme, the mixed-use project was commissioned on June 13. It will avail 24,000 square metres of space that comes with 267 residential units.
The project occupies 25.5 acres with a hospital, a conference centre, a casino and restaurants, among facilities planned on the site valued at an estimated Sh3.4 billion.
7. Cedar Mall in Nanyuki
The Sh1.3 billion project, associated with a group of British investors under Kiloran Development, will add 12,000 square metres of retail to the resort town. Nanyuki, where the British Army base is situated, is popular with holidaymakers.