NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – Encouraged by the ongoing infrastructure improvements by the Ministry of Roads in Nairobi, leading private equity investor Actis is investing Sh1.85 billion in a significant extension to the existing Nairobi Business Park development, which is expected to be completed by March 2013.
Mentor Management East Africa CEO James Hoddell acknowledged that the recent road improvements in Nairobi have stimulated their investment in Phase Two of the project, and he noted that it would help put the Nairobi Business Park at the centre of a new infrastructure network.
“The main reason why we’re doing this now is the phenomenal progress which is being made by the Kenyan government in upgrading the roads and infrastructure in the whole area. And when the roads are completed we will be 1,300 meters from one of the most important highway intersections in Nairobi,” he said.
“The results from our perspective are phenomenal. Today it takes around an hour to get to Jomo Kenyatta Airport and when this road is finished, we calculate it’ll be 20-25 minutes. Waiyaki Way today takes half an hour to get to, but when the road is finished it’ll take only ten minutes,” he revealed.
Ngong Road is being upgraded into a dual carriageway and the Nairobi Southern by-pass, which is due for completion in mid 2015 and joins Ngong Road only 1.3 kilometres from the Park, will greatly ease the existing traffic pressure.
Registrar and CEO of the Kenya Engineers Board Gilbert Arasa said they are improving the roads to facilitate the movement of goods and services.
“Mobility and accessibility are very important when you are setting up a business and if you want investment and trade to grow, you have to provide access and mobility,” he said.
“Once roads are accessible and there is sufficient movement of goods, the prices of those goods will go down. It will also allow for efficient travel so that people can go to work faster, which will help the economy,” he explained.
The new office park will consist of six new buildings totalling 15,000 square meters of additional floor space and will feature the latest technology, smart planning and unique designs aimed at providing Kenya’s corporate tenants with a safer and greener working environment, while meeting the growing need for quality office space in Nairobi.
Hoddell said that all authorisations have been granted and construction will begin in August. The buildings will be ready for occupation by mid to late 2013.
“We wanted to make sure that there was a lot of car parking and we wanted to make sure that the buildings were as efficient as possible,” he announced.
“We carried out a questionnaire amongst our tenants to find out what they really wanted on the park in Phase Two, and over and over again came out this demand for facilities, fitness centres, catering, banking and retail services,” he added.
The new buildings will be among the greenest in their class and Hoddell announced that they will maximize sustainability using systems that include recycling water and rainwater storage.
“Phase two of Nairobi Business Park is embracing green building by focusing on sustainable strategies that will be certified by the LEED International Sustainable Rating System,” he said.
“Tenants will benefit from considerable cost savings on operating expenses and healthier work environments,” he noted.
Nairobi Business Park was brought to the market by Actis and Mentor Management in 2004 and Hoddell revealed that they are in negotiations with various businesses that are looking to occupy space in the new facility including Java, Wines of the World and Barclays Bank.
The Park is managed by Knight Frank, and features a mix of international, local and corporate tenants including Nokia Siemens Network, Coulson Harney, John Deere, DHL and Hello Properties amongst others.