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Sarit Centre in Sh4bn mall expansion as competition hots up

Sarit Centre has unveiled a Sh4 billion plan to construct a new building beside the existing mall as it looks to keep pace with upcoming shopping complexes and take advantage of Westlands’ growing population.

The four-storey mall will add 250,000 square feet of retail space, effectively doubling its size.

Regulatory filings indicate that a whole floor of the new building will be devoted to a new supermarket.

Uchumi Supermarkets has a branch in the existing mall.

The other three floors will have extra retail space, food courts, an exhibition hall and entertainment facilities.

PRIME SPOT

“Westlands has become one of the prime spots for office and retail space expansion. With the burgeoning growth in the population of Westlands and the development of competing malls, this expansion is almost inevitable,” an environmental audit report says.

Besides the new building, a multi-storey car parking silo will also be constructed to create more parking space. The existing mall will also be refurbished.

Sarit Centre, owned by Soma Properties, has been a major landmark in Westlands since its establishment 33 years ago.

This will be the second major expansion bid since the first one was launched in 1997.

Today the building houses 130 tenants who include retailers, service companies and offices.

Over the last decade, malls have sprouted across Nairobi offering more competition to the older shopping establishments like Sarit Centre. These include malls like Westgate which is less than 500 metres from Sarit, Garden City on Thika Road and the upcoming Two Rivers Mall in Ruaka.

Other existing malls are also expanding, including the Village Market that is building new retail outlets, conference halls, a 187-room hotel and a 600 capacity car park among other facilities.

RISING MIDDLE CLASS

The increase in the rich and middle class population has seen the returns from businesses set up in shopping malls grow by large margins which has in turn attracted global brands to set up in the retail complexes.

In a previous interview, the Sarit Centre management told the Business Daily that they have had full occupancy over the last two decades.

The expansion of the mall will see the management create space it can lease to the global brands setting up locally.

Sarit is popular with exhibitors and the exhibition hall in the new building will be bigger than the current one allowing it to host more people.

The new building will be set up in the area currently occupied by a car park.

“The facilities that will be demolished to pave way for the proposed development include an existing car park, one office building and a few residential apartments,” the report adds.

An increase in middle and upper class disposable income has seen the number of malls grow at a relatively fast pace over the last 15 years.

Oxford Business Group- a British research publishing firm- last week said that the average value of consumer spending has risen by as much as 67 per cent in the last five years, making Kenya the fastest growing retail market.

SOURCE: Business Daily