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Longonot Gate seeks energy, hospital investors

From left: Longonot Gate Development Ltd chairman Lee Karuri, MD Consolata Gituto and Kenya Investment Authority MD Moses Ikiara during the signing of an MoU at the authority’s offices in Nairobi on Monday. Photo/SALATON NJAU
From left: Longonot Gate Development Ltd chairman Lee Karuri, MD Consolata Gituto and Kenya Investment Authority MD Moses Ikiara during the signing of an MoU at the authority’s offices in Nairobi on Monday. Photo/SALATON NJAU 

Resort city Longonot Gate has signed two separate deals with investors to set up education complexes at its Naivasha development as it seeks investors to put up solar and wind farms on the land.

GEMS Cambridge International Schools and Africa International University will put up the institutions on 18 and 22 parcels of land respectively.

Both are part of the developer’s 2,400 acres in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

An acre is going for Sh15 million which puts the combined investments by the two educators at Sh600 million. The company did not reveal the amount the two will invest in the institutions.

Longonot Gate Development chairman Lee Karuri told the Business Daily that GEMS Cambridge International Schools will open its second Kenyan campus at the site.

The first one is located in Karen, Nairobi County. “We are now doing the legal paperwork after (GEMS) board got approval from the head office in Dubai,” said Mr Karuri.

The developer of the resort city is also looking for investors to develop the energy and a hospital, offices and a shopping mall. Longonot Gate located at the foot of the mountain is constructing an 18-hole golf course at the location.

The real estate firm’s business model is to buy land, put up roads, water and sewerage lines and electricity connections, and sell the plots to investors.

The exception is a planned conference facility dubbed the Africa Convention Centre which will be put up through a joint venture. The facility is designed to host 5,000 people.

Mr Karuri said the seven-year project is expected to be worth $1 billion (Sh88 billion) upon completion.

Property management firms say this kind of developments make up the lion’s share of the leisure market having made investments running into billions over the last 10 years.

“Over the past decade, Kenya’s leisure property market has been dominated by golf-course resort developments which feature internationally-rated golf courses, holiday homes, conference facilities, retirement cottages, sporting facilities and theme parks in a secure environment,” said property firm Broll in the 2013-2014 annual report.

“Other ongoing developments include Longonot Gate, Migaa, Thika Greens and Aberdare Hills Golf Estate at a cost between $55 million (Sh4.7 billion) to $1.3 billion (Sh113 billion).”

The government also plans to develop resort cities meant to make the country a prime tourism destination.

“Construction of two coastal resort cities and three upcountry tourist resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu (Manda Bay) and Lake Turkana will be initiated and measures taken to increase bed capacity, open more five-star hotels and improve standards of tourist accommodation and facilities,” says the preliminary prospectus on Kenya’s sovereign bond.

Longonot Gate is looking for foreign investors and has signed a deal with the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) to market the development abroad.

“Kenya Investment Authority will be able to promote Longonot Gate during the investor forums it holds in various countries outside Africa,” said KenInvest managing director Moses Ikiara.

Longonot Gate broke ground in 2012. It was founded by Mr Karuri, Consolata Gituto who is also its chief executive, and Mr James Wathigo.

It is located near the high-end hospitality hotspot of Moi Southlake in Naivasha and near the highway to world famous Maasai Mara.

Note: Updated to correct ground-breaking date from 2002 to 2012.

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