The Nairobi commercial office market is ready for Grade A offices as the demand for such high-quality office space increased by 12 per cent. This is because local and international blue-chip companies seek premium workspace for their workforces. Despite the construction of high rise office complexes, Kenya faces a shortage of premium offices.
Grade A offices are structures built to international standards and fitted with high-quality finishes. They are newly constructed and fitted with the top of the range fixtures and amenities. Grade A offices should provide state of the art technical services such as high-quality elevators, fittings and automation systems. Also, Most Grade A offices adopt a code of security and safe working environment that meet international standards.
Alternatively, some blue-chip companies may decide to pay for an early lease and thereafter influence the way an office will be customized and built. In some instances, large companies with a long term foothold in Kenya have decided to construct their own offices, meeting their expectations. The grading of offices may vary from location to location. While the demand for such offices is on the rise, the Kenyan Grade A office market continues to be slow in supply,
According to a Broll Property Group study Q4 of 2017, Nairobi is experiencing a shortage of high-quality offices and a limited supply of pure Grade A office developments as per international standards. A majority of Grade A commercial property can be found in upmarket locations such as Parklands, Kilimani, Upperhill, Westlands, Karen and parts of Mombasa road. 30 per cent of commercial offices in Nairobi have a first-class rating with 5 per cent of these registered for Grade A. Gigiri is the only location with purely Grade A offices where 75 per cent pf office is premium, while Upperhill comes in second. On the other hand, Mombasa Road has the lowest percentage of such offices at 11 per cent.
Even with such offices charging a premium, tenants are booking spaces before completion while some are willing to wait for up to two years for a development to be completed. For instance, East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has taken space at the Garden City Business Park on Thika Road a year before its completion. The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed brewer signed a lease with the developer, UK private Funds Actis on 26th February 2018. This will see EABL occupy 7,500 metres of space at the Grade A office complex. Garden City Business Park will provide more than 25,000square metres of lettable Grade A offices with two hotels, a health facility and over 400 mid-market residential units.
“On a baseline, with our Grade A offices, we have ensured that we have reliable internet connectivity and 100 per cent electricity backup,” said Ms Ciru Okobi, Commercial director of Garden City. Ms Okobi said that Garden City Business Park adheres to international standards and also appeals to the right clientele. She also added that Garden City Business Park was also exploring how to innovate in the Co-working spaces concept so that start-ups looking for flexible working spaces are included. The Co-working business is expected to see a boom in Africa attributed to menials who make up 70 per cent of the continent’s population. The Government can also come up with stringent regulations that outline minimum premium office requirements.