Saturday, April 13, 2024

Meet billionaire behind landmark Nairobi OTC building

Many know the Overseas Transport Company (OTC) building along Ronald Ngala street in Nairobi as a stage, and a meeting point.

People also use the centralized building that for years remained incomplete and covered with a net as a bearing to locate their way around town.

But little is known about the businessman who dug deep into his pockets to buy the famed OTC building in 2006 for Sh. 72 million, which hosted the great Jack N Jill Supermarket.

Victor Maina Ngunjiri is a Thika businessman who has invested in real estate, construction, retail and the hospitality industry.

He bought the quarter acre of land where the OTC building sits. Jack N Jill owner Schon Noorani became a tenant.

The building has over 9 floors and was the premises of Noorani’s business until his investment was demolished brick by brick in 2013. This followed after a tussle between Victor Maina and Schon Noorani.

Maina had bought the building in 2006 and forcefully tried to make Noorani vacate the premises as he needed to do several renovations.

However, Noorani was unwavering to Maina’s words, forcing Victor Maina to head for the Business Premises Rent Tribunal, citing the building needed remodeling.

The court approved the renovation and gave Schon Noorani one week to have the iconic Jack N Jill vacate the premises or aid in renovations.

He defied the orders and headed to the court of appeal which lifted the vacating order. He argued that seven days was too little to act upon Maina’s complaints as it needed logistical planning.

In May 2013, the famed supermarket for travelers heading up-country faced its greatest nightmare in the name of a bull-dozer.

To the merry of opportunists, 30-year-old Jack N Jill was looted, and Noorani suffered losses of millions worth of goods. It is estimated that Noorani lost Sh. 150 million in value.

The businessman lamented that it had taken him more than three decades to build not just a supermarket, but also a strong brand in the name Jack and Jill.

The name was coined 40 years ago by Noorani’s daughter, then a nursery school kid who loved singing the famous Jack and Jill rhyme.

Noorani rued his decisions and has struggled to develop the supermarket to its former glory with the development of chain supermarkets across the country.

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After the demolition, the building construction has been on for nearly a decade and has never reached completion. It has been covered by dusty safety nets which have lasted for years.

Painting works for the building are currently ongoing. Misleading information showing a similar building to OTC that had been completed and dazzled with luminous lights emerged on social media.

It was established that the building was recently completed but located in Kampala, Uganda. It is built in the same spot where Uganda’s famous Pioneer Mall was located.

Other businesses owned by Victor Maina

Victor Maina is also the founder of Mathai Supermarket which has several outlets in Nairobi, Thika, Karatina, Nyeri, Embu and Meru.

He is also into the hospitality business, owning Klub Liquid Cash in Thika. He also manages Klub Image Hotel in Thika which has rooms that boast a balcony, a flat-screen TV, and guests are served continental breakfast.

The businessman also owns properties including flats, mostly in Thika and a 17-acre piece of land which has been a subject of a prolonged court case.

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