For the love of rooftop privacy
In today’s luxury real estate market, where more is better, developers and architects are busy designing penthouses.
‘Near the cloud’ is turning into a new market for property developers, aiming to entice individuals who desire to stay in privacy, in rooms with 360 degrees views of the city and beyond— something most people might get to see only from an aeroplane.
More lavish, exclusive and fit for millionaires as the price tags attest, penthouses are sprouting up fast in Nairobi’s upmarket areas in Westlands, Lavington, Muthaiga, Kileleshwa and Runda.
And the target is not only the wealthy Kenyans, but also the rich Saudis with petrodollars.
Last month, Realto Group, a real estate company invited potential buyers to view a development in Nairobi’s Kilimani area, off Argwings Kodhek Road.
A Saudi Arabia prince who was on holiday in Kenya walked into the duplex 7,500 square feet rooftop house, almost double the size of a three-bedroom apartment. The prince, a safari fanatic who frequents Kenya to enjoy the county’s wildlife, was scouting for property to invest in.
With Nairobi slowly turning into a concrete jungle, home buyers, keen on privacy are going for luxury houses on the rooftop.
“Penthouses are great for people who are keen on maintaining their privacy because they are set in a way that ensures there is limited access to your house. We have employed technologies like the intercom home controls that ensures that only those that you allow into the house can access it,” said Shailesh Hirani, the director of Summer Breeze, a property with penthouses and apartments.
Summer Breeze, a two-block development, consists 34 apartments set on one acre of land. Its five-bedroom duplex penthouse has a ‘steam spa’, the best set up for anyone planning to spend more than an hour during a bath. A penthouse at Summer Breeze costs Sh75 million.
Daniel Ojijo, the chairman of Homes Universal Group said even though structured within an apartment complex, penthouses are built with privacy and security at the core.
‘‘Well-designed penthouses also have exclusive, uninterrupted and panoramic views, saunas and in-house gyms, multiple balconies and lounge areas,’’ he said.
Dressed in dripping fine chandeliers, top-end home appliances affixed to the beautiful walls, and large windows carved out to bring to sight the breathtaking morning views of Mt Kenya, Mt Kilimambogo, the city and planes landing at the airport; penthouses do not come cheap.
Their prices are almost double that of normal apartments with most going for over Sh100 million for a three-room penthouse. Rents range from Sh450,000 per month for a four-bedroom penthouse.
The newly-designed units are also spacious and offer a more luxurious experience within an apartment set-up. Knight Frank, a real estate agency, says penthouses come in various sizes that range from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet.
Larger penthouses are designed to be main family residences while others are merely luxurious stopover pads.
“They have unique designs varying from single level to duplex and triplex floors, making them considerably similar to standard double-storey houses with own compounds. In addition, most penthouses have large entertaining areas such as roof-top terraces and gardens,” said Knight Frank.
Sh150,000 a night
Nothing is left to chance during the design, building and finishing. Compared to the usual apartment, extra attention is also given to the flooring and wall cladding. There is also limited access to penthouses leaving the units exclusive to owners and their visitors.
Another major attraction for penthouses is the opportunity to enjoy the lifestyle without the hassle of higher maintenance costs associated with gated compounds or stand-alone houses that include gardening, personal security and general upkeep of the structure, noted Knight Frank.
English Point Marina is another development that has eight penthouses with beautiful views of the ocean and the coastal town.
A penthouse at the Marina costs Sh220 million plus a monthly service charge of Sh80,000. The master bedrooms have an indoor pool, a jacuzzi on the balcony overlooking the ocean and a steam bath and sauna. The penthouse can rented out for Sh150,000 per night.
The Residences, on Nairobi’s General Mathenge Drive, is another development that has penthouses. Set on two acres of land, the property has five penthouses under construction with four already sold off-plan.
The triplex house occupying 10,000 square feet consists of the living space on the 11th and 12th floor while the 13th floor is an entertainment deck to be used as a lounge or for dining.
The last floor will have a second entry that will be accessible to guests coming from the ground floor, leaving the living space exclusively to the family. “The penthouses offer a unique view of the Spring Valley and the greenery of Karura Forest. And it has that extra level of privacy and amenities like the swimming pool, steam room and community centre,” said David Lowe, the Residences Project manager.
The finishing of the house will comprise fittings sourced from Europe to add a touch of class into the living space.
The developer is currently allowing home buyers to personalise their fittings to suit their different personalities, a factor that aims at involving the future owners in the building process.
The project is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.Home-stay apartment owners are also betting it all on furnished penthouses which they rent to holidaymakers. Montave, another development featuring three-four bed penthouses is set for construction in 2017 and will be a high-end mixed use facility in Upperhill, Nairobi.
“Montave will afford users the most panoramic view of Railway Golf Course and Uhuru Park, the only development that will show the greenest of Nairobi at such a high level. The building also features a rooftop helipad -the first of its kind in a mixed-use development in the suburb,” said Sakina Hassanali, head of research and marketing at Hass Consult.