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Njonjo group in Sh1bn Runda real estate plan

Mr Charles Njonjo (left) and Mr Baloobhai Patel

Mr Charles Njonjo (left) and Mr Baloobhai Patel

A company associated with former attorney general Charles Njonjo is set to build a Sh1 billion estate in Runda, deepening the nonagenarian’s investment in property.

The former AG and billionaire businessman Baloobhai Patel are shareholders of Grenadier Limited, which is set to build a hotel, an office block and a shopping centre in the affluent Runda neighbourhood targeting business tourists and diplomats.

Mr Patel is the chairman of Grenadier Ltd, the holding company of Sankara Hotel Group, while Mr Njonjo chairs the Sankara Hotel Group, in which the two are said to hold significant stakes.

Grenadier Ltd, a private investment company with interests in hospitality management, real estate and lottery operations, is charged with the new project through its subsidiary—The Grove Limited.

“We cannot comment on this project at the moment,” said Moshi Perera, the general manager of Sankara Nairobi when the Business Daily called to inquire about the Runda estate plan.

Mr Patel’s portfolio at the Nairobi Securities Exchange stands at over Sh4 billion with significant holdings in counters like Britam (0.26 per cent), Pan Africa Insurance (19.9 per cent) and Bamburi Cement (1.3 per cent).

Mr Njonjo is also among Kenya’s wealthiest individuals. In the 1980s, he teamed up with former President Moi and Jeremiah Kiereini to make waves of acquisitions in corporate Kenya.

Through their investment vehicle, African Liaision and Consultant Services, they acquired interests in companies like CMC Motors and CFC Holdings, which own CFC Bank and CFC Insurance.

Mr Njonjo has maintained a low profile since retiring from public service. He recently sold off his 1.32 per cent stake in CMC Motors for Sh10.1 million.

The Grove Limited is seeking approval of its construction plans that will comprise a “boutique” hotel with 200 beds. Mr Perera did not give details on the class of the proposed hotel.

Sankara Nairobi is a five-star luxury hotel that opened its doors in Westlands in 2010. The shopping centre being built will occupy two floors with a total of 32 offices on a four-storey building.

The complex will also have a parking space for 736 vehicles.

“The area where the project will be situated is off the Northern bypass on Runda Close, adjacent to Runda Green shopping centre and the plot itself is approximately 6.7 acres in size,” reads an application for approval of the project.

“The presence of a retail centre will enable the residents of the area to access quality shopping without the need to travel to Westlands and the CBD especially for the convenience items that are consumed on a daily basis.”

The new facility will be adjacent to Mae Ridge Runda, a Sh2 billion housing project being built by Pan Africa Insurance Holdings, which is 19.9 per cent owned by Mr Patel.

Some global hotel brands that have set up in the capital include US-based hotel chain Best Western, Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson and Villa Rosa Kempinski.

The decision by Mr Patel and Mr Njonjo to set up their latest hotel in Runda is unique to the extent that most aforementioned chains have traditionally been built in and around the capital.

Their choice of location will, however, mirror that taken by the developers of Hemingways Nairobi who set up their Sh1.5 billion, 45-bed boutique hotel in Karen in May last year.

Runda is synonymous with plush real estate as most developers have preferred to build offices in Westlands and Upper Hill.

“(There will be) increased supply of office space particularly outside of the CBD and other overcrowded commercial centres such as Westlands,” says Grove Limited.

Centum Investment is planning to build a mega real estate project in Runda that include two hotels (five and three star), a retail and entertainment centres and residential apartments.

-BusnessDaily

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