Parliament to buy two more buildings in Nairobi
Posted Thursday, July 12 2012 at 20:22
Parliament plans to acquire two buildings owned by co-operative societies in Nairobi to house its expanded membership, beginning next year.
The National Assembly wants to purchase Harambee Sacco Plaza and the adjacent Ukulima Co-operative Building, the last two privately owned buildings around the ‘Parliament Square’ with a joint space of about 110,000 square feet.
A senior official from the Housing ministry says that the National Assembly has commissioned a valuation on both buildings, which is meant to determine their fair prices before an offer is made. The devolved state is clearly set to be a major factor on the property supply side.
“A valuation is ongoing and it will determine the fair price of the two buildings,” said Patrick Bucha, the acting managing director National Housing Corporation who is also the director of estate at the ministry of Housing.
Already the State, through the ministry has confirmed that funds have been set aside to conclude the acquisition of Hazina Towers and View Park Towers in Nairobi from the National Social Security Fund, within this financial year.
READ: State sets aside Sh1.2bn deposit for two NSSF buildings
Mr Bucha adds that the government was keen on housing all its new offices in its own buildings to avoid renting.
“The allocation for rent alone is about Sh3.4 billion this year,” he said.
Monthly rental prices on commercial spaces range between Sh60 to Sh100 per square foot depending on the quality of the building, indicating that the State rents about 3.5 million square feet in privately owned property.
The acquisition of the four commercial buildings by the State comes months after the big-spending parliament acquired a vacant parcel of land, also within the Parliament Square, where a building worth Sh5 billion will be built over the next three years to house the expanded legislature.
It is not yet clear which of the two buildings would be acquired first since the National Assembly has a Sh700 million budget to acquire a ‘commercial building’ in the Parliamentary square bound by Parliament Road, City Hall Way, Uhuru Highway and Haile Selassie Avenue.
Plans to purchase the buildings represent a change of heart from earlier stance where Parliament planned to refurbish its leased offices at Ukulima and Harambee House buildings at a cost of Sh400 million this year.
Joseph Njoroge, the finance director at the Ukulima Co-operative Society confirmed that the Parliamentary Service Commission had made a bid for the property but could not confirm its monetary value.
He added that the society was also carrying an independent fresh valuation on the building before making a counter-offer for the 10-storey commercial property where parliament is already a tenant.
Parliament is also a tenant at the Harambee Sacco Plaza.
Early last month, Parliament revealed plans to build an ultra-modern office block to house the expanded 418-member legislature that will be in office after next year’s General Election.