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US embassy to lease Sh4.2bn estate in Nairobi for staff


Entrance to US embassy in Gigiri, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The United States Embassy is set to lease a 90-unit gated estate for its staff in upmarket Rosslyn in Nairobi in an eight-year deal costing up to Sh4.27 billion.

The housing estate dubbed OBO Kenya Diplomatic Housing is being developed by Gateway Real Estate Africa Ltd (GREA) and is set to be completed by the third quarter of this year at Sh5.5 billion ($48.5 million).

The details of the leasing deal were disclosed by Mauritius-based Grit Real Estate Income Group in a prospectus issued ahead of its acquisition of a majority stake in GREA. Post the acquisition, Grit will own half of the project.

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 has sought to lease a gated estate for its staff.

“The 90 unit diplomatic apartment and townhome community development marks GREA’s first development in Kenya and a second development in conjunction with US-based developer, Verdant Ventures,” said Grit.

“The development will consist of a combination of apartments and townhouses, and a clubhouse with gym, swimming pool and other amenities…(It will be) 100 percent leased to the United States of America for a term of eight years.

“First year’s rental income will be $4.724 million (Sh534 million).”

Over the eight-year life of the lease, the US embassy will pay up to Sh4.27 billion, based on the rate of the first year rent.

Foreign missions incur costs running into millions of shillings every year to secure appropriate housing for their expatriate staff in Nairobi.

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

The Gigiri area, where the UN environment agency is headquartered, is also home to a large number of foreign missions including the US embassy and the majority of expatriates in Kenya.