Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Multi-billion Nairobi building nobody wanted to occupy

Kings Prism Tower: In August 2018, the iconic Kings Prism Tower in the Upper Hill area of Nairobi was opened for tenants. The 34-storey building’s opening was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The building that is located along Ngong Avenue in the most well-connected Upper Hill business district of Nairobi became the latest eye-catching architectural marvel in the area.

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Two years down the line, though, the 133-metre high building remained an empty shell that no tenant wanted to occupy. By February 2020, the building was yet to find a single tenant willing to take space.

Kings Prism Tower

One of the ‘To Let’ adverts that was put up by real estate firm, Ken Real indicated the Kings Prism Tower as having the following attributes:


Building Name : Prism Tower

Building Grade : A

Building Area (Ft2) : 280,000 Approx.

Floors : 28 Levels of Office Space— 114 Offices.

Parking Bays : 6 Parking Levels – 510


Rent (Per Ft2) : Office Ksh 120/-

Service Charges (Per Ft2) : Ksh 25/-

Parking Ratio : 2.5 Per 1000 Ft2

The failure by the elegant building to attract tenants pointed to the troubled waters that the real estate sector in Kenya is currently sailing through. According to property manager Knight Frank, The decline in office uptake and stagnation of rental prices is mainly attributed to the continued oversupply of commercial space in some locations and the current economic slowdown.

The Prism is a Grade A building. This means that it has the highest quality and the top choice for most multinationals. “The buildings might have been constructed during the last five years and feature modernist architecture and the latest services,” says a report.

Upper Hill boasts of hosting some Kenya’s most modern and tallest buildings. It is in the area that Africa’s tallest building, The Pinnacle, is being constructed. When complete, the now stalled building will stand at 1,000 feet, have 70-storey, 11 floors offering Grade “A” commercial offices covering 75,000 square feet and also luxury apartments on over 40 floors.

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    • I see nothing to worry about. What the project needs is creativity. They should not wait for tenants to come but lure them. I wish them good luck as they keep doing that.
      What many people don’t realize is that letting agents are the most important part of a real estate project. You source them before you start building.
      Also strategy is key. You can source for events tenants and let them hold events for free. It’s all about being agile and cunning.

  1. Mobile phones are the biggest threat to real estate. If you kind or business/hustle really does not need an office… a mobile phone/lapgtop and the numerous coffee shops where you can meet your clients etc, is all you need. Cutting costs, avoiding long lease commitments, Ubering (yes,Ubering) and home garages allows you to be free as a bird as you hustle. If you think this is not so… just look at the new generation of teenagers and the kids after that… imagine them in an office !

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