Nairobi’s famous landmark goes up for sale for Sh460 million

Sanlam House on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi.
Sanlam House on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY
One of Nairobi’s most famous landmarks, Sanlam House — formerly Pan Africa Life House — has been put up for sale, marking a new chapter in the building’s 89-year history.

A price tag of Sh460 million has been put on the iconic property that sits on 0.34 acres on Kenyatta Avenue in the Nairobi central business district.

Sanlam Kenya Plc., which owns the property, said on Tuesday that it had contracted real estate firm JLL to sell the five-storey building as the financial services company prepares to relocate to its new headquarters in Westlands.

“Sanlam House presents a well maintained and managed 40,151 square feet mixed-use investment with an enduring appeal to growing SMEs,” the company said in a newspaper advert.

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“The asset provides an opportunity to further enhance net rentals. Upon ownership, the possession of space vacated by Sanlam can be re-let to SMEs, who have a keen demand for space in the CBD.”

According to the company, the building has a 99 per cent occupancy rate.

Gazetted as a national monument, the Georgian styled Sanlam House was built in 1928 to signify the permanence and “lofty ideals’ of the British rule in Kenya.

The building which once housed the Ministry of Agriculture and the Teachers Service Commission was acquired by Pan African Insurance Company in the late 1940s.

It was named Pan Africa Life House, a name it retained until last year when its owner rebranded to Sanlam Kenya after South African Sanlam Group purchased majority shareholding in the company.

Sanlam has set April 1 next year as its deadline to vacate the premises and has revealed it willingness to get a short-term lease agreement with the new owner pending relocation.

The firm will be relocating to its newly built Sh2.7 billion tower in Westlands, which is scheduled for occupation in December.

September 21 has been set as the deadline for prospective buyers to place their bids.