Nairobi developer signs deal to build Africa’s tallest hotel

An impression of the Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill.
An impression of the Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill. PHOTO/COURTESY
A Nairobi property developer has signed a franchise agreement with global hotel chain Hilton Worldwide to set up a 43-floor hotel in Nairobi, which is tipped to be Africa’s tallest hotel.

Jabavu Village Limited on Monday signed the deal with the group of hotels for the construction of a 255-room hotel on Upper Hill Road in Nairobi’s fastest growing commercial district. This will be Hilton’s third outlet in Kenya.

The iconic hotel, which will be located in the shorter of the twin structures of the upcoming Hass Towers, will comprise an executive lounge and five food and beverage outlets, including a poolside bar, grill restaurant, lobby dining area with landscaped deck and a boutique rooftop bar with stunning views of the Nairobi skyline on the 43rd level.

The taller structure – which comprises a 65-level office block – is primed to be Africa’s tallest tower, overtaking Johannesburg’s Carton Centre, which has held the record since 1973.

“The striking new-build property will pierce the skyline of Upper Hill and will be well placed to meet this growing demand in one of Nairobi’s most exciting and colourful areas,” Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide said on Monday.

Jabavu Village has teamed up with US real estate firm White Lotus Projects to undertake the project which is tipped to be the 50th Hilton outlet in Africa on completion in 2020.

READ: Nairobi skyline to change forever as skyscrapers soar

Jabavu Village’s project director Mahat Noor said that he was “tremendously excited” to be collaborating with Hilton on the development.

“Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill and the larger mixed-use development, which will include a residential, retail and entertainment complex, as well as an adjacent office tower, will be Africa’s tallest building, standing at 330m.”

The developers have hired global engineering group Meinhardt Group as the lead engineering and structural services provider for the project.

Although White Lotus Group has indicated that it is difficult to put an overall price on the project, Hass Towers is estimated to cost Sh18 billion.

The company on Monday said in a press statement that “site excavation was 80 per cent complete as of October 5”, adding that “the project cost is pending the contract award to the general contractor”.

Hass Towers will be wholly owned and funded by White Lotus and Jabavu.

According to regulatory filings with Nema dated September 2014, Jabavu Village had initially planned to build a mixed-use development with a combined 75 floors at a cost of Sh3 billion.

Last year, as the developer hired a project manager for the project that was designed jointly by Archgroup and Meinhardt Group, plans had changed to a 43-storey hotel and a 65-storey office block estimated to cost Sh18 billion.

The proposed hotel joins another Hilton Worldwide hotel that is currently under construction in Nairobi. Dubbed Hilton Garden Inn, the hotel is located just 2km from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and is set to open doors next year.

Hilton Worldwide, which seeks to double its presence in Africa by 2020, says it has stopped owning hotels and instead adopted a franchise model – which is less costly and more efficient.

Check out the current issue of Construction Business Review. Flip through the pages of the paper real-time or download a copy to read offline. Sign up for a FREE subscription to get the paper delivered to your inbox every month.