BACK AND RISING

From the ashes caused by terrorists, business at Dusit rises

Cellulant, which lost six of its staff, is among the firms that relocated from the complex.

In Summary

• Property Manager says though some firms opted to relocate from the complex, others have come in and picking up well.

• Cellulant which lost six of its staff among the firms that relocated. 

Off Waiyaki way, past the meandering 14 Riverside drive in the green suburban Westlands, stands Dusit D2 building.

Lofty, elegant with modern architecture, it hosts an upscale hotel and office complex including the Commission on Revenue Allocation, Adam Smith International and Amadeus IT Group.

The complex is also home to LG Electronics, I & M bank, JHPiego, SAP East Africa and Cellulant Kenya Ltd.

 

The place is quiet with a number of cars driving through three security barriers erected at least tens of meters apart before accessing the building.

On January 15, 2019, this complex was attacked by Al Shabaab terrorist group leaving  21 people dead and more than 30 hospitalised.

The security is enforced to the level of an embassy; a number of guards patrolling, sniffer dogs, high-tech safety machines and thorough body search for both pedestrians and motorists.

Inside, the security guards on high alert decline to let us in except even with an official identification and no amount of pleading or excuse convinces him.

"I was here when the attack happened. My colleagues were sprayed with bullets, some made it while others died. I cannot take risks," he said firmly.

During the brief chat, the guard recounted how he escaped together with a client who was seeking access to the building.

"I was clearing her when our colleagues came running warning us to hide because we were under attack. When they (Al Shabaab) got to the barrier, some cars were ahead of them. So they got out and started shooting," he narrated.

 

Inside the complex, businesses had resumed their normal operations. A conference was ongoing inside the Dusit Hotel with a few people lounging in the restaurant.

The hotel lost four of its staff in the attack.

Even though they were reluctant to talk to us, we could see the flow of traffic and busy staff behind the kitchen.

Opposite the hotel is also a shoe store that had also reopened after the attack.

The security guard tells us that Cellulant Kenya Ltd, who lost six of their employees, had moved out.

While some enterprises had reported low business especially just after reopening, others attracted increased business.

Control Risk which offers services on handling attacks or disasters, got more clients as more businesses realised the importance of teaching their employees how to protect or defend themselves during an attack.

The horrifying scenes of cars on fire, piles of bodies and blood painted walls had long been replaced by beautiful landscaping and paint.

The attack saw the complex closed indefinitely affecting some 40 firms that had rented the complex.

Some of the multi-national firms hosted in the office complex included Reckitt Benckiser, Amadeus Global Travel Distribution Ltd, JHPiego Corporation, Colgate Palmolive (EA) Limited and Cellulant Kenya Limited.

Others were  Adam Smith International, LG Electronics Africa Logistics FZE, Quintessentially Lifestyle Services, and Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc.

Local firms with offices in the complex included Brighter Monday, Redhouse Group, HIP Partners Kenya, Kenya Gatsby Trust Westlands Forex Bureau ExChange among others.

Firms with an East African outlook based at the office block included SAP East Africa, Fanisi Capital, AC Nielsen Kenya Limited, Sandawoods Limited, Horizons Group Limited.

One of the property managers said the majority of these firms had come back and picking up well.

We have some who left but other firms also came in. The hotel had some difficult start but we are looking to a greater year,” the lady said.

Requesting anonymity, she said the complex has enhanced its security screening with a review done on a regular basis.

“We are here today because we have a community that is so resilient. Their support has been of greatness and has played a key role in making the complex a comfortable place to be,” she said.