Car & General set to build KSh800 million mall in Shanzu

Car and General, a Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm is deepening its foray into the property business with a KSh800 million mall project in Shanzu, Mombasa County. The firm intends to build the mall on four acres, with the construction set to begin next year to be completed by 2026.

“We are looking to commence a development in Shanzu. We have found an anchor tenant and agreed terms. We are now waiting for the new highway to be complete. We would like to open a strip mall in 2026. It will take two years to build,” said Vijay Gidoomal, Chief Executive at Car and General. A strip mall typically includes shops, restaurants, other commercial establishments, and designated parking spaces, especially when situated along a busy roadway.

The project seeks to capitalise on the Mombasa-Mtwapa-Kilifi Highway being upgraded. The Shanzu project will complement their existing Nairobi Mega mall along Uhuru Highway, which was launched in 2020. The mall, located across Nyayo Stadium, has Carrefour as its anchor tenants. It also houses several brand like, Safaricom, Airtel, LC Waikiki and City Walk.

According to Gidoomal, the mall is projected to have a built-up area ranging from 80,000 to 100,000 square feet. The four acres constitute a portion of the 24-acre land owned by the company in Shanzu, which was valued at KSh1.25 billion as of the end of December 2023.

“When we look at the value of the land, it is a question of how we make the best use of the asset. We are open to all options to ensure the mall is a self-funding exercise. If we are spending KSh800 million, we would like to liquidate some of the acres to recover the money,” said Gidoomal.

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“What we are seeing with land value right now is that it is going up but not necessarily accelerating as fast as we would like. So all our land has to be productive asset,” he added. The company determines market prices for its undeveloped land, considering various factors such as location, frontage, and size. These prices typically range from KSh50 million to KSh55 million per acre.

“This (business) diversity coupled with a broader geographical reach builds sustainability, and we are confident that each line offers scope for growth,” said Gidoomal.

Car and General traces its roots back to 1936 when it began as a modest venture in Nakuru, Kenya. Over time, it has expanded significantly and become a prominent presence in the region, with operations extending to several other East African countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda. It operates in five distinct business sectors including automotive and equipment distribution, real estate development, financial services, poultry, and helmet manufacturing. The company also has an online shop platform where customers can view, buy or place orders for their products.

By Frank Mugwe

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