Hostels

Acorn invests 2.5 billion shillings in UoN student residences

Companies

Acorn invests 2.5 billion shillings in UoN student residences


Acorn Group CEO Edward Kirathe. FILE PHOTO | NMG

john-mutua-img

Summary

  • Groundbreaking for the properties began on Thursday, with the institution expecting the company to ease accommodation pressure for students.
  • The projects will be managed by Acorn D-Reit, the unit specializing in the development of the Qwetu hostel brands which is the premium offer and Qejani for the mass market.

Property developer Acorn is building two new hostels at the University of Nairobi (UoN) at a cost of 2.5 billion shillings as it continues to expand its student accommodation portfolio.

Groundbreaking for the properties began on Thursday, with the institution expecting the company to ease accommodation pressure for students.

The projects will be managed by Acorn D-Reit, the unit specializing in the development of the Qwetu hostel brands which is the premium offer and Qejani for the mass market.

The project located on the Chiromo campus is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year. It will consist of 1,950 beds under the Qejani hostel brand while Qwetu hostel will have 850 beds, bringing the total student accommodation capacity to 2,800.

“UoN is the first public university we have partnered with this year,” said Edward Kirathe, CEO of Acorn Holdings.

“We will also partner with Kenyatta University and JKUAT. Our partnerships will allow them to focus on their main mandate, which is training and research.

Monthly rent in hostels in Qejani ranges between $75 (Sh8,500) and $125 (Sh14,000), while residents of Qwetu pay between $135 (Sh15,300) and $300 (Sh34,000). ).

UoN increased accommodation rates in its aging hostels for new students sevenfold last year with a room shared by two scholars for Sh19,635 per semester, up from Sh2,835 previously. UoN Vice-Chancellor Stephen Kiama said hostels built by Acorn will help attract overseas students.

“We are having difficulty accommodating international students as our Kenyan students also want to get rooms,” Prof Kiama said.

“We discussed that they also give priority to international students so that they can tell others a good story of accommodation at the University of Nairobi.”

Acorn will also build three new hostels at a cost of 3.6 billion shillings targeting students from Hurlingham, Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

The Qwetu and Qejani hostels targeting Kenyatta University students, for example, will cost 1.9 billion shillings and are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

The projects are part of Acorn’s plans to expand its portfolio of modern student accommodation close to universities and colleges.

The demand for modern hostels is expected to grow alongside growing student population and rising incomes.

In addition to developing the properties, Acorn also holds them for income alongside other investors who have purchased into its real estate trusts.

[email protected]