It was glamour as US$320m (Shs1.2 trillion) Kingdom Kampala Mall owned by property mogul, Sudhir Ruparelia was officially opened to the public on Sunday.
The official unveiling of the building was preceded by prayers.
Sudhir’s Jyostna and son, Rajiv, who is the Managing Director of Crane Management Services Ltd opened the building.
Kingdom Kampala mall, which is now one of the marvels in the Kampala sky is located between three main roads; Nile Avenue, Yusuf Lule Road and Dewinton Road to the northeast of Central Business District of Kampala.
Addressing guests, who included top Kampala tycoons, Rajiv revealed that the building has been opened at “a strategic” time when Uganda’s oil sector is booming, noting that it will offer office space to the sector as well as others.
He described the “phase one of the building” as unique, noting that there are a few buildings like it in Uganda. He revealed the total built up area is 42,000 square meters.
He added that the facility has 22,000 square meters of let-table retail & office space, parking for up to 450 cars and sprinkler fire suppression system.
Further, the building has backup generators that can power the building for up to five days in case hydro power is off.
It also has 400 CCTVs to provide adequate security.
Inside the twelve floored multibillion and multipurpose complex is also a 200 bedroom 4 Star Hotel and a 16,000 square meter rentable space for leisure related kind of businesses.
When fully lit at night, it illuminates the surrounding areas like a gigantic Christmas tree.
Construction on Kingdom Kampala started off in 2006 after Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal leased 15 acres (6.1 ha) of prime land in the center of Kampala from the government of Uganda for 99 years. Alwaleed’s company, Kingdom Holding, was supposed to build a five star hotel to be opened in 2009. In the aftermath of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, Kingdom Holding failed to mobilize financing to complete the Hotel, and in 2016 Ruparelia’s Crane Management Services (CMS), a subsidiary of Ruparelia Group, acquired the property and restarted construction work.
Sudhir, Uganda’s richest man and Chairman of the Ruparelia Group of Companies in a 2016 media interview revealed that he had “more than 300 titles [of land] in my closet and still counting.” This has since grown considering the fact that he has been opening more new buildings in Kampala and the surrounding areas.
For example, he has more than 14 buildings along Kampala Road.
He valued his titles at around US$1bn (roughly Shs3.7trillion) excluding the now defunct Crane Bank.
By Aloysious Kasoma