Upmarket office space market in Nairobi is charged at around kes 100 to kes 150 per sq. foot of floor space. This is found around CBD, Upper hill, Westlands, Hurlingham,Ngong road. Basically, 10km radius of Nairobi with the exception of Eastlands.
These buildings are mainly characterised by highly aesthetically appealing and unique building shapes, careful use of finishes ,high quality of workmanship in the builders works, and meticulous property management/repairs/cleanliness/security.
Some buildings within middle class parts of Nairobi usually charge upmarket rates due to the aesthetically appealing designs. Such are common along industrial area/Baricho road whereby one building could be charging kes 100 per sq. foot while the next charges half of this.
Design plays an important role in realising higher rental profits since it attracts more potential clients, creating competition which in turn pushes rent upwards. This is a win win for both the owner/developer and the tenant in that the developer gets higher rents and the tenant is able to retain his customers since his customers perceive him to be better than the competition since his office/shop location is situated at a prestigious address.
A good example of this is seen at Karen shopping centre where 2 buildings next to each other have a very high difference in occupancy rate and rental charges per sq. foot.
This is mostly at 100% occupancy and at higher rent per sq. foot than others next to it.
Upmarket buildings with large expansive floor spaces designed such that partitioning into smaller lettable space is not possible, usually have lower rates of occupancy.
Most tenants usually are seeking to rent on average 500 to 1000 sq ft of space. Within this range, its not easy to find lettable space within the upmarket office space.
New buildings have taken cue of this and are now coming up with designs that are flexible for partitioning into smaller spaces.
A new office block at Westlands along Crossways roads/Waiyaki way has come up with smaller spaces and is usually at 100% occupancy rate.
Demand for smaller spaces within the high end market will increase as we usher in the new year 2014 and will stabilise once developers come up with more flexible designed buildings.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.