Signature Mall Hands Retailers First-Mover Advantage On Mombasa Road
Signature Mall, a new mixed-use development on Mombasa Road, is set to open in early 2018 with a view to catering to the surrounding neighbourhoods in Nairobi’s southern outskirts, which are currently underserved with formal shopping centre developments.
Construction of the development began in January 2016 at an estimated cost of US$11 million (Sh1.14 billion), funded through a mix of debt and equity. Signature Mall delivers into the market a Gross Lettable Area of 259,300 square feet of high quality space that will host over 100 occupiers including shops, offices and a hotel.
The mall has been developed by Canon Aluminium Fabricators Ltd. Its primary catchment will be the fast-growing population and rich demographics of Syokimau, Mlolongo, Athi River and Kitengela areas in Machakos and Kajiado counties. In addition, it will serve the hotel’s clientele and transit shoppers on Mombasa Road, together with transport hubs such as the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the newly opened SGR Nairobi terminus.
Vishal Pindoria, Managing Director at Canon Aluminium Fabricators Ltd, said: “Signature Mall will offer an upscale consumer experience to shoppers by bringing local and international brands as well as leisure facilities to their doorsteps. As opposed to being purely retail-oriented, this is a high quality mixed-use development and incorporates small office spaces and a three-star hotel.”
Pindoria said the development presents a first-mover advantage for the brands that will open shop there. The mall is expected to record highly localised demand from the growing urban population in neighbouring residential areas.
Signature Mall initially expects to serve 3,500-4,500 customers daily, with footfall anticipated to rise to at least 6,000 shoppers per day. The mall is targeting an occupancy rate of 60-65% by the time it officially opens to the public next year.
The mall will host a mix of local and international retailers, a diverse food court, a children’s entertainment zone and a health centre. Amenities in the mall include a state-of-the-art fire detection and fire-fighting system, surveillance systems and 24-hour security personnel. The mall will have adequate parking for over 600 vehicles in the basement and outdoors, adding to shopper’s convenience. The developer has also built a 300-metre deceleration and acceleration ramp.
The mall is being leased by Knight Frank Kenya, which will also manage the property when the mall opens for trading.
Anthony Havelock, Head of Agency at Knight Frank, said: “It is no secret that we have seen an oversupply of new retail developments across Nairobi in the past two years and coupled with the situation of some retailers, it has been a challenging time for the retail sector in general. There are however good opportunities and locations for developers and retailers to target the growing population, increased affluence and emergence of the burgeoning middle class to provide formal retail developments and benefit from this demographic.
“Signature mall is certainly in one of these locations where the demographic profile and population are changing rapidly. The mall, with its strategic location and prominence, together with a first-mover advantage, is very well placed to be a success.”
The anchor tenant is Choppies Kenya while the hotel facility will be managed by Azure Best Western, a franchisee of Best Western Hotels & Resorts. The hotel, which will occupy the two upper floors of the development will have 70 elegantly-designed and fully-furnished rooms and serviced apartments to suit the requirements of contemporary business and leisure travellers.
Azure Best Western, which will open for guests at around May 2018, will target local corporate clients, long-stay, airport transient market, lay-overs, airline crews and leisure travellers.
The mixed-use nature of Signature Mall offers an ideal location for the three-star hotel, enabling its clientele to enjoy an array of complementary amenities and services in the mall. Additionally, the surrounding locations host significant resident populations with incomes that form a good base for the hotel’s banqueting services. Close proximity to JKIA makes the hotel an ideal choice in accommodating travellers’ requirements.
Vikram Khettry, the CEO at Azure Hospitality Group, said: “We recognise the urban population and businesses around Signature Mall as part of our integral target market. Of importance is our proximity to JKIA, making it possible to extend our reach to various travellers on either long stays or lay-overs.”
The hotel group already operates two other brands in the country—Azure Hotel Nairobi in Westlands and Azure Mara Haven in the Maasai Mara.
Signature Mall is expected to generate direct employment for over 500 people and approximately 3,000 indirect jobs when it opens.