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Pandit family set to sell Emperor Plaza at Sh750m

The Emperor Plaza building. PHOTO | SALATON
The Emperor Plaza building. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Real estate billionaire brothers Rajesh and Dhruv Pandit have placed the iconic Emperor Plaza building in Nairobi on sale.

The scions of the late Lalit Pandit —who hold a 50:50 ownership in the property — are asking for a minimum Sh750 million “exclusive of purchase costs and VAT, which reflects an initial yield of 8.4 per cent and a capital value per square feet of Sh17,847.”

The family is better known as owners of Akiba Bank and East African Building Society (EABS), which were merged and later sold to Ecobank in the late 2000s. Built in the 1960s, the five-floor Emperor Plaza is located at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Koinange Street and enjoys access to Banda Street at the back.

It operated as New Avenue Hotel from opening till the early ‘80s when it was transformed into shops and offices after renovations.

“Emperor Plaza provides an opportunity to acquire a superb, fully let investment property, with opportunities for value addition over the medium term through the renewal of leases at improved rents and tenant mix,” says the announcement posted on the real estate management firm’s online portal, emperorplaza.live.jll.com.

In mid-2008, the family sold a 75 per cent stake in EABS to Togo-based Ecobank for more than Sh1 billion and has maintained a 25 per cent stake in the mid-sized lender to date.

The late Pandit also founded Mercantile Insurance in 1993 as a life and non-life business.

The family later sold a 66.6 per cent stake in Mercantile to Morocco-based Saham Finances, earning hundreds of millions from the deal.

After their father’s death in January 2005, the family appears to have concentrated investments in the lucrative real estate sector.

The family also owns Fedha Plaza on Mpaka Road, Westlands.

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