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Insurer Jubilee buys Coca-Cola office at Sh1.1bn

Insurer Jubilee buys Coca-Cola office at Sh1.1bn

Jubilee Holdings has bought Coca-Cola East Africa’s
former head office in Nairobi’s Upper Hill at a cost of Sh1.1 billion, with the
insurer planning to move its headquarters to the property in September.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange  -listed firm will
lease out part of its current address –Jubilee Insurance House on Wabera
Street— which will also continue to house its agents and customer service
operations “We bought the Coca-Cola building at a cost of Sh1.1 billion. We got
a very good deal,” Jubilee Holdings chairman, Nizar Juma, told the Business
Daily. “We are adding one floor and also doing renovations. We expect to move
in September.”

Besides the head office, other operating divisions that will
migrate to the Upper Hill property include its fund management, life, and
health businesses.

The property, which sits on 3.2 acres, had been on the
market for more than two years. Coca-Cola announced the sale of the property in
July 2019 after moving to a new building in Lavington.

The soft drinks giant at the time said it chose to migrate
to a location that is closer to residential areas besides having a working
space that is “more open and less formal”.

Jubilee says the expansion and renovation of the newly
acquired property will enable it to accommodate its operations. The upgrade
will feature the construction of an amphitheatre.

The three-storey complex is currently categorised as a Grade
A office with 116,350 square feet of space and 130 parking bays.
Other amenities are a sound-proof auditorium, gym, fitness studios, and a
cafeteria. Only one acre is developed.

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The transaction expands Jubilee’s investment in the real
estate market. Through PDM Holdings Limited, the insurance group has interests in
Nairobi’s IPS Building, Nation Centre, and Courtyard. among others.

Long-term real investors have benefited from both rental
income and capital appreciation, with the latter source of returns dominating
in the past two decades.

Jubilee’s purchase of the property continues the trend of
companies leaving Nairobi’s central business district to new head offices in
Upper Hill and Westlands. Others that have made similar moves are Sanlam Kenya
and the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

The corporate migration has been partly linked to the need
to acquire more modern offices, with most properties in the CBD built decades
ago.

Upper Hill and Westlands have become popular locations for
corporate headquarters, hosting banks, insurers, and audit firms, among others.
There is an increased preference for modern buildings that consume less
electricity and have more natural light, among other environmental
sustainability and efficiency features. Mr Juma said the company was mainly motivated by the price
in buying the property.

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