Kenya’s Biwott family has recently sold the iconic Yaya Center shopping complex in Nairobi in a multimillion-dollar deal.
The family, known for the late Nicholas Biwott who was a well-known businessman and philanthropist, had owned the center for over thirty years. The iconic shopping complex has been bought by a consortium of private investors, including one of Kenya’s wealthiest families, the Rasik Kantaria family.
The recent sale of the Yaya Center marks the end of a long era for the Biwott family. The Rasik Kantaria family, led by multimillionaires, will now take charge of the prominent shopping complex located in Kilimani, Nairobi. In addition to acquiring the Yaya Center, the consortium will also take ownership of the upscale Yaya Apartments and Hotel, with the aim of repositioning the Yaya Center as one of the leading malls in the region.
Details of the commercial transaction have been kept confidential, per the agreement, but sources familiar with the deal have confirmed that the Yaya Center was valued at millions of dollars. This valuation takes into account not only the strategic location and land value of the complex but also the thriving businesses within the mall and the high demand for rented spaces. The Yaya Center, founded in the 1980s, has grown to become a modern multifunctional shopping mall, housing over 100 shops and offices.
In 1997, the Yaya Center was involved in a court case that valued the complex at Ksh3 billion (approximately $21.1 million). This highlights the significance of the complex’s location and land value, which has made it an attractive investment opportunity for the consortium of private investors.
The late Nicholas Biwott, a prominent Kenyan businessman and politician, left behind a remarkable legacy when he passed away at the age of 77 on July 11, 2017. Biwott was part of a generation of distinguished public servants in Kenya who ventured into various businesses, leaving a lasting impact on the country’s economy.
Throughout his career, Biwott made significant investments in a wide range of ventures. He owned the Eldoret Town International Harvester franchise, the Kipsinende dairy farm, and real estate properties in the Rift Valley and Nairobi. Additionally, he engaged in wheat and maize commercial farming, as well as an import-export food and agriculture business.
One of Biwott’s most notable ventures was Air Kenya, which he founded and managed for over four decades. Under his leadership, Air Kenya created numerous job opportunities and contributed significantly to Kenya’s revenue and foreign investments. The airline became a trusted brand and played a crucial role in the development of Kenya’s tourism industry.
However, since his passing, the family of Biwott has gradually sold off some of his businesses and assets. In 2020, they made headlines when they sold stakes in the leading oil marketer KenolKobil to the French multinational oil marketing firm Rubis. This deal amounted to a staggering Ksh 8.4 billion ($59 million), showcasing the immense value of Biwott’s business ventures.
The recent sale of Yaya Center, a prominent shopping mall in Nairobi, marks another significant milestone in the family’s efforts to manage and optimize their late patriarch’s business legacy. Yaya Center, known for its central location and diverse range of stores, has been an emblem of Biwott’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Despite his passing, the impact of Biwott’s business ventures continues to be felt in Kenya’s economy. His investments have not only created employment opportunities but have also contributed to the country’s overall revenue and foreign investments.