Nairobi’s oldest shopping mall undergoes Sh4 billion revamp

Sarit Centre promotes itself as “a City within a City”
Sarit Centre promotes itself as “a City within a City”. PHOTO/FILE
Nairobi’s oldest shopping mall, Sarit Centre, is undergoing a Sh4 billion expansion that will help consolidate its customer base in the wake of intensified competition from new entrants such as the Two Rivers Mall, Garden City, and The Hub Karen.

The extension, which received regulatory approval last year, will involve the construction of a new mall adjacent to the existing one – adding some 250,000 square feet of space to Sarit Centre, thereby doubling its size.

Sarit Centre director Nitin Shah said the ongoing construction is the first major revamp by the mall since its inauguration in 1984.

The face-lift will enhance the mall with more retail space, larger conferencing and exhibition spaces, a multi-storey car parking silo, a roof top garden and more leisure spaces for its 40,000+ daily patrons.

“We are looking for ways to keep visitors at the mall after 6pm. We are open to fine dining options like specialty restaurants, pubs, and cinemas. The new space will also have international retailers who have recently expanded into the country,” Natin said in a recent interview.

Sarit Centre, which promotes itself as “a City within a City” is owned by Soma Properties, a Nairobi based developer, and has been a key landmark in the Westlands district of Nairobi.

The shopping mall houses about 130 tenants who include top retail brands and service companies among others. Soma Properties directors have in the past told journalists that Sarit Centre has enjoyed full occupancy for more than two decades.

In the last ten years, wealthy developers have invested billions of shillings in malls across Nairobi staging stiff competition for businesses with older facilities such as Sarit Centre.

Some of the newer entrants include the Westgate Mall, which is located just 500 metres from Sarit, Garden City Mall on Thika Road, The Hub Karen, Thika Road Mall (TRM), Village Market, and Two Rivers Mall on Limuru Road.

The swelling population of rich and middle class Kenyans has seen international vendors expanding into the country in a bid to tap into the changing tastes and preferences of the affluent citizenry.

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