South Africa fund stakes Sh3.5bn on Kenya real estate

Chinese firms are increasingly expanding into Kenya.
Foreign firms are seeking to cash in on the local construction boom. PHOTO/FILE
Grand Towers Property Fund, a South Africa investment trust, is planning to invest Sh3.5 billion in Kenya as it positions itself to take advantage of the booming local market.

The fund says that it will build prime mix-use developments, including shopping malls and warehouses, with the intention of renting out the facilities to multi-national tenants.

“We are looking for tenant-driven developments in the retail, commercial and industrial sectors with investment between Sh1 billion and Sh3.5 billion,” chief executive Peter Collins said.

Grand Towers focuses on retail and mixed-use commercial development opportunities in major cities in Africa.

The fund is bullish about setting up high-end residential estates to house expatriates who are increasingly coming to Nairobi, as global corporations set up their continental hubs in the city.

It joins other South African firms that are expanding to Kenya, including JHI Property Services, Broll Property Group and Chryso Southern Africa Group.

READ: Qatari billionaires seek to pour cash into Kenya real estate

JHI Property Services recently said that it was hunting for a Kenya chief executive to help it secure long-term property business in the country.

On the other hand, Broll Group – which came to Kenya in 2013 – has appointed Brad Gee as the new boss for its local unit, replacing Jonathan Yach who left to pursue other interests.

Broll focuses on managing office blocks and shopping malls – a market that is locally witnessing a boom with no signs of abating.

The company, which manages Garden City Mall on Thika Road; The Hub Karen and Buffalo Mall in Naivasha, has already won a lucrative deal to manage Two Rivers Mall in Runda, which is touted as the biggest mall in East and Central Africa.

“On the back of the group expansion, we see Nigeria and Kenya as countries offering the most opportunities,” says Broll head of facilities management Rowland Gurnell.

This is the kind of optimism that has seen Chryso expanding into Kenya with the intention of setting up a concrete and cement additives plant in the country next year.

“Kenya has shown impressive sales growth for the group over the past nine years, so it made good business sense to solidify our presence in the country,” the company said last month.

The roll out of big dollar infrastructure projects in roads, rail and ports is enticing foreign companies to expand into Kenya as they seek to position themselves to ride on the current building frenzy.

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