At least 16 per cent of the office block has been snapped up by investors, mainly from Nairobi, with many still making inquiries.

“We are targeting high-end clients and we already have bookings from Nairobi, Nyeri and Nakuru,” said Mr Faiz Gilani, the operations director at Gilani’s Real Estate Company, which the Gilani family, which ventured into business with a small retail shop in Nakuru, formed to handle its real estate projects.

 “After doing retail and wholesale business for more than 40 years, our company has decided to take a leap of faith in the real estate business, and that is why we have put up such a massive building,” he said.

The company is also putting up a multimillion housing project about 500 metres from Tower One, where it is building 20 three-bedroom apartments for sale known as Central Business District Prestige Apartments.

Already, 40 per cent of the apartments, which are situated on Maasai Avenue and going for Sh12.5million each, have been sold.

Mr Gilani said  that due to the rapid growth in the supermarket business, they opted to diversify instead of opening more branches like their competitors.

“We did not want to emulate the Nakumatts, Tuskys and Naivas of this world by opening branches across the country because we thought it would interfere with our traders in the region who have small supermarkets and are our clients, and that is why we opted to go into the real estate business,” said Mr Gilani.

 “At the moment Gilanis supermarket employs about 600 workers and with the new building which is expected to hire  an additional 250 workers this will be a big benefit to the residents of Nakuru,” said Mr Faiz.

Mr Gilani, who joined the  supermarket chain in 2009, says the new company hopes to ride on the good reputation of Gilanis Supermarket to stamp their footprint in the real estate business  and has several projects lined up.

Besides the supermarket and now the real estate venture, the Gilani family is firmly in the transport sector, hospitality industry and has huge warehouses in Nakuru’s industrial area.

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