“We met huge resistance at the beginning and scepticism from many people; ‘this is not going to work, it’s too far, who is going to go there’ and all that. People didn’t understand it. But, we could see that the area would grow. We kept at it, refined the concept and we expanded it. The whole idea was that we didn’t give up.” – Hamed Ehsani, co-founder Village Market.
Flashback 1992: Two Iranian brothers set up a 10-shop outlet in Gigiri. Fastforward 2014: The 10-shop outlet has grown into Village Market and its owners have announced a Ksh 5 billion expansion plan, the 5th expansion program since 1992. The Village Market was established by two Iranian brothers: Hamed Ehsani and Mehraz Ehsani. The recreational mall has a total leasable space of approximately 21,000 square metres. It houses 150 shops. The 137-room Tribe Hotel is part of the expansive retail and hospitality complex in the Gigiri area.
The management of the Village Market announced an expansion program which is estimated at around US$ 50 million. The proposed development will see additional 75 shopping outlets and a 187-room budget hotel. The extension will also have a conference facility of a capacity of 500 people. Parking space for additional 700 vehicles is included in the project expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
What Informed the Decision?
The management is banking heavily on accommodating growing global brands that are making entry into the Kenyan consumer market. The demand for quality hotels led to the inclusion of a hotel in the project. The growing middle class in Kenya as well as the diplomatic and expatriate community in the area motivated the need for more shopping outlets and restaurants.
In an interview with How we Made it in Africa Hamed Ehsani cited inadequate and limited infrastructure as one of the challenges that Village Market complex has had to contend with. An erratic water supply system led the management to drill boreholes in order to meet the water demand. Inconsistent power supply has necessitated the installation of power generators. In addition, Village Market operates its own sewage system plant. The facility has also invested heavily on security services.
Project Financier: Equity Bank
Project Architect: Symbion
Main Contractor: Seyani Brothers
Managers & Developers: Greenhills Investments
75 – New outlets and Restaurants
187 – Capacity of budget hotel [Middle-level hotel]
700 – Additional Car Parking capacity
500 – Conference Facility Capacity
Ksh 5 Billion – Estimated Cost of expansion
Ksh 41 Million – Cost of Refurbishment of Food Court previously
Ksh 3.8 Billion – Finance from Equity Bank
[Image Credit: LetsGoKenya.com]