High class living
AMS develop truly unique constructions with style, quality and award-winning service at the heart of all they do
Writer Emily Jarvis
Project manager Arron Rampling
Family-run business AMS Properties Ltd has grown from strength to strength over the last 20 years in Kenya. Now the company are a pioneer in the property industry, with a reputation for investment, integrity, quality finishes and on-time delivery. With brothers Rupen and Ronal Samani at the helm, the AMS brand is well respected in the market, recently acquiring Superbrand status in East Africa, becoming the first real estate company with this award in Kenya.
AMS have completed in excess of 5,000,000 square feet residential, commercial and industrial projects, with thousands of sub-contractors at their side. "We give the best quality in all the properties we construct, providing innovative designs and concepts. We strive to be the first to bring new ideas to the market," explains Rupen, one of the company directors.
The company aim to create trends and design a building that is unique, which of course is a key factor to attracting business in such a niche market as upper-middle class to luxury constructions. "We believe in creating a brand that will be recognised globally. So whenever we launch a project, everyone knows it will be of an incredibly high standard and be an innovative design and concept unique to that building," says Rupen.
The Niche Luxury Construction Market
To achieve such projects, it requires a serious amount of inspiration, and Rupen is excited by this idea: "We search the world to get ideas to see what is popular and think about how we can implement it in Kenya; essentially, to figure out where the next hotspot in Nairobi is." Out of this ethos came a multitude of projects, including the new Five Star Meadows upper-middle class residential construction; a gated community on 20 acres of land, comprising of 116 villas complete with leisure facilities. "The Five Star Meadows project is unique in the sense that nothing else was like this development in the area," Rupen reasons.
Kenya is not normally known for its luxury housing market, but as a result of the lack of super high-end luxury housing, AMS are trying to fill this niche: "Our current project called One General Mathenge is the most luxury development we have ever done. With 43 apartments on 3 acres of land, such a low density of residential construction is unheard of here in Kenya." Each apartment will cost between US$ 750,000 and uS$2 million, making them the most expensive apartments in East and Central Africa.
With the demand for luxury and high end housing in Kenya on the rise, a niche market of customers are looking for property in secure, gated communities, which is an area Rupen says AMS have seen the most success due to their reputation for delivering innovative and high quality properties.
"No one building is designed the same"
Recently, AMS have started using architects and consultants from the US, UK and South Africa. "Investing in foreign designers has brought new ideas to the table and although sometimes more expensive, they produce good results," Rupen states. Furthermore, Rupen would like the company to become the biggest real estate developer in the region. In order to do this, AMS would need to secure private equity and real estate fund, amongst possible foreign investors looking to secure a foothold in Kenya. The company are currently exploring this avenue, but are yet to commit to anything. "Sorting these funds would really help us go in that direction," affirms Rupen.
Over the last few months, AMS have been working with European consultants to source for their luxury projects in Kenya as Rupen explained: "You can get very good deals for some of the best fixtures and fittings and as a result of this decision, we now have an entire department dedicated finding European products."
Securing Investment and Funding
In Kenya, interest rates are currently high and are known to fluctuate significantly. This is one of the challenges that AMS have to combat with all their residential, commercial and industrial developments. "Plus, with only 20,000 mortgages outstanding in Kenya in the entire population of 43 million, access to mortgages is difficult for us. High interest rates and the cost of construction to finance amongst other issues have created barriers to investment in Kenya," Rupen added and went on to further highlight a final challenge: "land has also become expensive in Nairobi, costing uS$5-6 million an acre in some parts. Nevertheless, we are working through these challenges, and continue to do well."
Onwards and Upwards
AMS are in the process of recruiting more personnel to fulfil senior project management and construction management roles, shifting their company focus to a strategic approach. "we have a strong desire to become Pan-East African, we are already invested in doing projects in Uganda and Rwanda; currently securing a good team of personnel to take care of the daily operations in order for us to shift our focus onto expansion," Rupen emphasises. It is clear that AMS have a commitment to their staff. "we are a family run business, with a good mixture of corporate and personal staffing structures within the company." with 10 ongoing projects being designed by architects across the globe, AMS develop truly unique constructions, with style, quality and award-winning service at the heart of all they do.