Work begins on Africa’s tallest building in Nairobi

Pinnacle in Upper Hill, Nairobi.
An impression of The Pinnacle in Upper Hill, Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY
Construction is underway on a Sh20 billion development that will top out as the tallest building in Africa, in the latest illustration of a building boom that has completely transformed the skyline of Nairobi.

On Tuesday, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the mixed-use twin tower project – barely three months after the landlord – regional oil marketer Hass Petroleum Group, signed a multi-billion deal with Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) to set up the project in the Upper Hill district of Nairobi.

The Pinnacle, as the development has been christened, comprises a 5-star hotel and a 300 metres high office block that will overtake the 223 metres tall Carlton Centre in Johannesburg as the tallest building in Africa.

The 255-room Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill will occupy the 45-storey wing, while the 70-storey wing will host hundreds of Grade A commercial offices and a luxury shopping mall.

The Pinnacle tower is a joint venture between Hass Petroleum Group’s real estate arm Jabavu Village and Dubai-based investment firm White Lotus Group.

“We are targeting the middle and high-end luxury hospitality market. Nairobi is becoming a regional hub and the expatriates coming to work here require these residences for short stay,” Hass Group chairman Abdinasir Ali Hassan told guests who attended the ground-breaking ceremony that was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We expect the entire building to be completed by December of 2019, although the 255-room hotel may be completed earlier,” Mr Hassan said.

Rigorous tender system
Two months ago, Hass Group disclosed that it had contracted CSCEC to undertake the project. The deal, which was signed in Beijing on February 28, was welcomed by Mr Hassan as an ‘historic’ event that came after a demanding tender process.

“They (CSCEC) went through a rigorous tender system which they won over ten international companies including European, Turkish as well as other Chinese competitors,” Mr Hassan said in a press statement.

At 300 metres, The Pinnacle – which sits on two acres of prime land in Upper Hill, will be much taller than the upcoming Britam Towers (200 metres); AVIC International Tower (175 metres); UAP Tower (163 metres); Times Tower (140 metres); and the Kenyatta International Conventional Centre (105 metres).