Car & General eyes Coast with Sh800 million mall in Shanzu


A Car and General Sales Manager Erick Masabule (right) explains a point to a client at KICC Nairobi on April 23, 2024 during the 2nd Kenya Power E-Mobility conference and Expo.

Car & General is lining up an Sh800 million mall project in Shanzu, Mombasa, deepening its foray into property business as it continues with a revenue diversification strategy.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm plans to construct the mall on four acres, with the construction slated to begin next year and be completed by 2026 to benefit from the Mombasa-Mtwapa-Kilifi highway that is being upgraded.

“We are looking to commence a development in Shanzu. We have found an anchor tenant and agreed terms. We are now waiting for the highway to be complete. We would like to open a strip mall in 2026. It will take us two years to build,” said Vijay Gidoomal, chief executive at Car & General, in an interview.

A strip mall consists of shops, restaurants, other businesses and a place for cars to park, especially along a busy road.

Car & General runs five distinct business lines, being automotive and equipment distribution, real estate investment, financial services, poultry and helmet manufacturing.

The Shanzu mall will add to the Nairobi Mega, the mall along Uhuru Highway, which Car & General launched in 2020. The mall, located opposite Nyayo Stadium, is now fully rented with supermarkets giant Carrefour as anchor tenant.

It also houses other brands such as Safaricom, Airtel, LC Waikiki and City Walk. Mr Gidoomal said the Shanzu mall will have an estimated built up area of 80,000 to 100,000 square feet.

The four acres is part of the 24-acre land that the company owns in Shanzu, which had a carrying value of Sh1.25 billion at the end of December 2023.The company plans to dispose of some of the land to recoup the spending on the new mall, in a move that will restore its cash position.

“When we look at the value of the land, it is a question of how we make the best use of the asset. We are open to all options to ensure the mall is a self-funding exercise. If we are spending Sh800 million, we would like to liquidate some of the acres to recover the money,” said Mr Gidoomal.

“What we are seeing with land value right now is that it is going up but not necessarily accelerating as fast as we would like. So all our land has to be a productive asset.”

The firm puts the market prices for its undeveloped land, taking into account the differences in location, and individual factors, such as frontage and size, between Sh50 million and Sh55 million per acre.

“This (business) diversity coupled with a broader geographical reach builds sustainability, and we are confident that each line offers scope for growth,” said Mr Gidoomal.

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