Kenya’s largest private university by student population, MKU, has ventured into the real estate and hospitality market with the opening of a multimillion-shilling mixed-use facility in the coastal town of Mombasa.
Mount Kenya University (MKU), which is associated with businessman Simon Gicharu, said Nyali Golf View Residence is part of the effort to diversify its income streams and ultimately establish an endowment fund that will help finance its activities in the long term.
The 12-floor building, which is located in upmarket Nyali estate, has premium class serviced apartments, a fitness centre, a restaurant, swimming pool and a penthouse.
Mr Gicharu said the investment, which was initially meant to host MKU’s Mombasa campus, offers residence and recreation services to the growing demand for premium tourism and hospitality services.
“We wanted to invest in something that Mombasa will be proud of and also introduce a new product mix for our tourism industry, which has greatly benefited from recent security improvement in the coastal city,” he said.
Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi, who represented governor Hassan Ali Joho at the function, said the port city is open for investments, especially those that support tourism – the mainstay of its economy.
“Our mandate is to create a conducive environment that can attract investors to Mombasa.
“Millions of people visit the county each year making it imperative that we build infrastructure and facilities that can meet their needs,” Dr Kingi said.
Acting Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku, who was the chief guest at the ceremony, said MKU had endured the challenge of insecurity that was predominant in Mombasa when construction began six years ago to put up a world-class facility.
“There is a myth that investors come in light shades and that they should come from other nationalities.
“But today MKU has debunked that myth and showed that an investor is someone who is willing to take risk and put money where there is the most opportunity to get good returns,” Mr Manduku said.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry KNCCI), Mombasa branch chair Rukia Rashid urged Mombasa residents to venture more into real estate, which remains promising given the changing demographics.
“We can come up with such projects whether as individuals or groups to help boost the economy of the county,” Ms Rashid said.
The facility already has 85 per cent occupancy.