A group of women entrepreneurs has launched a Sh1.7 billion real estate project for apartments targeting expatriates on short visits to Nairobi.
The three-bedroom, high-end apartments by Africa Bel Air will be built on a 1.3 acre parcel of land on Ngong Road in Nairobi.
At a price tag of Sh19.75 million per unit, the entrepreneurs are targeting investors keen on earning premium rents from professionals who don’t want to live in hotels.
“Our vision was to have furnished apartments to cater for business travellers who come to Kenya every year and stay for weeks at a time, giving them a home away from home,” said Alice Kariuki, a director of the project.
Mrs Kariuki, a former managing director of a local mortgage company, said research shows that there is high demand for out-of-hotel accommodation by business travellers.
Data from the Economic Survey 2013 shows that the number of business tourists increased by 1.7 per cent to 236,000 in 2012 from 232,100 in 2011.
The business travellers’ growth rate beat tourist travel whose arrivals fell by 7.6 per cent to 1.22 million from 1.32 million over the same period.
Nairobi is the entry point to the East Africa region and travellers regularly make stop-overs in the city, contributing to the growth of the business travel market.
The number of business travellers is expected to increase as more expatriates come to Kenya, drawn by recent discoveries of natural resources in the East African region.
The project’s consultants said that demand for fully-furnished apartments is bigger than hotel rooms globally, because they offer a home-like environment.
“Western and other professionals prefer to be in an apartment, where they can plan their own meals, lifestyle and weekends, evenings and leisure,” said Hass Consult marketing manager, Sakina Hassanali.
“Few developers have created apartments of the right calibre for this market, and those that have, even many years back, frequently run waiting lists for their accommodation,” she added.
The apartments will be fitted with Wi-Fi connectivity, intercom communications, and satellite dishes.
Two Women Break Ground to Build Furnished Apartments
Two women, under an outfit christened Africa Bel-Air, are to build furnished apartments on Ngong Road, an investment that will involve them in the whole value chain from property development to hospitality services.
Africa Bel Air’s co-directors Alice Kariuki and Anne Kagotho broke ground yesterday to build Serenita Apartments, opposite China Centre, at an estimated cost of Sh926 million. The development – which will have 84, three-bedroom units – will target “business travellers and consultants” who stay in Nairobi for periods of up to a week.
“Serenita designs are pegged on research indicating that long hotel stays exceeding three days have been listed among the stressors for business travellers,” said Kagotho.
The development, for letting, will sit on 1.3 acres and is scheduled for completion in January 2015.