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Sh5.5 billion US embassy estate to be ready May


Rosslyn Springs homes during a past sale in Nairobi. Private developers are constructing US Embassy staff houses at the estate. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The 90-unit gated estate in Nairobi’s Rosslyn estate that the US Embassy is set to lease for its staff will be completed by May, the developer has said.

The housing estate dubbed OBO Kenya Diplomatic Housing is being developed by Gateway Real Estate Africa Ltd (GREA) and US-based Verdant Ventures at a cost of $48.5 million (Sh5.52 billion).

The development will consist of a combination of apartments, townhouses and a clubhouse with a gym, swimming pool and other amenities, and will be on lease to the US for eight years.

The disclosure of the delivery date was made by Mauritius-based Grit Real Estate Income Group, which owns 19.98 percent of GREA, and is in the process of taking up a majority stake in the firm.

Post the acquisition, Grit will own half of the embassy housing project.

“The construction of a 90-unit diplomatic apartment and townhouse community in Kenya fully tenanted by OBO, a division of the US State Department, is making good progress and is expected to be delivered by May 2022,” said Grit in its financial report for the half-year ended December 2021.

Earlier, Grit had said that the property would be delivered by the third quarter of this year, and also disclosed that the embassy would pay $4.724 million (Sh537.8 million) in the first year of the lease.

While embassies in Nairobi tend to house their expatriate staff in estates lying in the high-security UN diplomatic blue zone, this is the first time that a foreign mission is leasing a gated estate for its staff.

Key considerations for the choice of location include security and ease of access to key facilities such as hospitals, the airport, shopping malls and international schools.

The US Department of State has already taken possession of a similarly leased a 112-unit diplomatic residential tower in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which was completed in November 2021.

GREA is also undertaking a similar project for the US government in Mali’s capital Bamako, where it is putting up 45 housing units.

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