Mukesh Ambani tightens grip on Kenya’s real estate

India’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani. PHOTO/FILE
India’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani. PHOTO/FILE
India’s richest businessman Mukesh Ambani, has recently tightened his grip in the Kenyan real estate sector with the acquisition of land in Nairobi valued at Sh2.9 billion.

The plots of land, that are meant for commercial and residential development, are jointly owned by Ambani’s Reliance Industries and Delta Corp East Africa Limited (DCEAL) on a 60:40 basis respectively.

The latest Delta Corp end of year report for up to March 31 2012 said: “DCEAL has acquired 10 prime plots of land in Nairobi with a planned develop-able area of approximately 1.2 million square feet of commercial and residential assets.”

Ambani has recently tightened his grip on the local property market by acquiring and developing prime plots within Nairobi’s Westlands and Upper Hill areas, which he has either sold or rented out to high net-worth tenants.

Delta Towers in Westlands

He recently sold two properties in Nairobi; Delta Center in Upper Hill, which was sold to the World Bank, and Delta Towers in Westlands, which was sold to the University of Nairobi and financial consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“DCEAL has already completed construction of Delta Plains, a mid-to low-cost residential complex at Athi River near the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). This relatively industrialised area is being considered an upcoming residential hub due to its proximity to both the airport and the city,” the Delta Corp report said.

The company has developed a gated complex of 4 office-blocks, Delta Riverside, in Westlands.

“These are independent, self-sufficient blocks ideal for small to mid-size offices. We have successfully completed and sold these. In addition to the above, DCEAL has successfully completed the sale of the second of the Twin Towers of Delta Corner in the CBD of Westlands,” Delta Corp said.

(Fusion Group to build Sh1.2bn Upper Hill office block)

The latest edition of the Knight Frank Prime Global Rental Index ranked Nairobi as the city with the fastest growth rates worldwide in rent for high-end commercial property in 2012.

The index showed rents in Nairobi rose by 17.9 per cent in 2012 making the city one of the world’s most expensive places to let space.

The city outperformed 15 other cities in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe, including Beijing and Dubai.

The increase has been attributed to the rising demand for space as large corporations establish their regional headquarters in Nairobi in addition to entrants of oil and mineral prospecting firms.

These companies, according to Knight Frank, are flying in a large number of expatriates, driving up demand for high-end accommodation.

HSBC, IBM, Google, Foton, General Electric, Nestle, Bank of India and Pepsi top the list of multinationals that have recently set bases in Nairobi.