Market News

UAP Tower occupancy at 35pc after 9 months

The UAP-Old Mutual Tower in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
The UAP-Old Mutual Tower in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Kenya’s highest building, the UAP-Old Mutual Tower, remains nearly two-third unoccupied nine months after its openning.

UAP-Old Mutual Group CEO Peter Mwangi said on Tuesday the tower’s current occupancy rate stands at more than 35 per cent adding, however, that the firm is eyeing full occupancy by April next year.

“We seek to achieve full occupation by end of next year,” said Mr Mwangi. UAP-Old Mutual itself is in the process of relocating all offices to the tower, he added.

Among the current tenants is the Kenya Investment Authority, which in January unveiled a two-floor one-stop shop for various government business permits as well its headquarters.

The investment centre is located on the 14th and 15th floors occupying more than 23,463.54 square feet.

Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority has also taken up 23,463.54 square feet on the 18th and 19th floors.

Other prominent tenants are French restaurant chain Brioche Doree and mid-tier lender Prime Bank.

Mr Mwangi said UAP is also in advanced talks with other interested tenants to take up the remaining offices whose minimum space offering is capped at 3,000 square feet.

A number of new buildings have come up including Britam Towers making it a tenant’s market.

“The high levels of new supply of commercial office space have negatively affected rental levels and occupancy rates,” Knight Frank recently said.

The tower officially opened doors for business in July last year after construction that took over five years at an estimated cost of Sh5 billion.

At 163 metres height, the 33-storey tower in Nairobi’s fast growing Upper Hill commercial district towers over buildings that define Nairobi’s skyline.

The yet to be leased Britam Towers is the tallest building in Kenya, but UAP Towers is the highest by virtue of being on a higher ground.

Demand by foreign investors seeking to make Nairobi their base of Africa operations has boosted the office space market despite the glut.

The tower put up 300,000 square foot of grade A office space and 25,000 square feet of retail space at rents of between Sh120 and Sh180 per square feet.