Athena Properties has enjoyed extensive growth over the past two years, matching the success of its renowned mixed-use developments with its own strategic development in East Africa
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
As East Africa’s leading real estate development company, Athena Properties Ltd’s goal to become sub-Saharan Africa’s lifestyle developer of choice is well on its way to fruition, and has only been compounded over the past 18 months via a series of regionally significant projects.
Having always sought developments that fall into the large-scale, mixed-use category, the business has differentiated itself continuously not just through its quality constructs, but by changing the way that people live and think.
“We are creating an entirely new paradigm, a way of thinking for real estate in the region, doing our part to put East Africa at par with the rest of the world. We take a grand vision and breathe life into it,” the Company affirms on its website. “We do this by conceptualising and developing landmark projects that incorporate global best practice from environmental standards, amenities and spatial requirements.”
Since 2016, this ethos has been applied to three leading projects in the form of the Two Rivers Mall, the Pearl Marina, and an industrial city at Vipingo in Kenya.
Managing Director, Arthur Adeya explains: “The main success stories over this time period have been the completion, launch and operation of the Two Rivers Mall as well as the completion of the first phase of Pearl Marina Development. We also obtained all the necessary approvals for the development of an industrial city at Vipingo which was no mean feat. We are very proud of what the team was able to do and achieve.
“Athena Properties’ success has been dictated by the launch of the former Two Rivers Mall, and the success of Two Rivers Power and Two Rivers Water that ensure consistent, reliable and timely supply of power and water to the entire Two Rivers Development. The operation of the wastewater treatment plant at the development is also a major success. We also launched phase one of the Two Rivers Theme Park and work is undergoing to have it completed.”
Having completed phase one of the Pearl Marina Development simultaneously, show houses are already ready at the site. While, in regards to the latter opportunity, all the necessary approvals have been attained to conduct the one-of-a-king Vipingo industrial city, which will greatly contribute to the reduction of costs associated with industrial activity in the region; while showcasing Athena’s ongoing commitment to service diversification in line with client requirements.
“At Athena, we aim to be ahead of the pack,” Adeya emphasises. “We are proactive and take pride in being industry leaders and in order to remain ahead, we need to always make improvements. We consistently monitor global trends especially in the mixed-use developments and lifestyle retail space as these are our current areas of focus.”
Lifestyle developer of choice
Ensuring project optimisation, a series of similarly pivotal internal improvements have been made in recent times too.
On the process side, all operation manuals are properly documented through the inception of project-specific files and checklists, while the Company is also looking to diversify its revenue streams in the future via an income-generating project.
From a technological standpoint, the Company has invested in Procore, a cloud document management system that helps ensure that every document required is easily accessible to everyone in the team.
Adeya details: “This has greatly helped to improve efficiency at Athena. We have also invested in Asana, a project tracking system that helps us track whether we are on target to meet our goals in every project that we undertake. This eases our task in project management. We have also invested in Autodesk BIM for reviews and value engineering.”
The Company has also recently joined Rubberstamp, a purchase order solution designed to streamline areas of procurement; further contributing to heightened collaboration, efficiency and security.
Ultimately, “our main vision still remains to be sub-Sahara’s lifestyle developer of choice, and we are consistently working to achieve that”, Adeya sums up.
“Athena Properties was highly commended for the Two Rivers mixed-use development, the Pearl Marina mixed-use development and the Maiyan Residential development at the African Property Awards, 2016,” he adds proudly. “For our financial year ending 31 March, 2017, we had revenue of more than Ksh340 million which exceeded the goal of Ksh300 million that we had set for ourselves for the year; while our team has grown from 28 in August, 2016 to 34; and we have also strategically moved our operations to the Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi, in August, 2017.
“This has made for better working spaces for our team members that foster an increase in productivity.”
The team member compliment has expanded over the past two years, having brought in a number of new graduate trainees; all of which were top of their respective classes at university level.
“They, together with the other members of the team, consistently go through training to ensure that they keep abreast of industry standards and developments,” Adeya says. “Athena also goes out of its way to encourage the team members to take up professional courses and programmes that build their skills and expertise. In doing all this we are able to have a team of highly intelligent and motivated people who help push Athena into achieving the goals it has set out.”
Partnerships with ACE have helped to facilitate such personnel enrichment as well as the building of Sabis, a new, international, state-of-the-art institution with modern facilities that comprises a curriculum from K-1 to K-12. Development is also ongoing at Kiambu Road in Nairobi, complemented by CSR-based partnerships with the County Government of Kilifi, and the County Government of Nairobi.
Adeya explains: “We undertook an upgrade of Timboni and Makonde primary schools in Kilifi County where the schools received a total of seven modern classrooms. We were also involved in the rehabilitation of Mathari Primary School where we built 32 classrooms, a library, a dining hall, an ablution hall and a computer lab. Our corporate social responsibility activities are done in partnership with Centum Investment Company Limited.”
The Company’s CSR approach, much like its project philosophy comes from an integrated culture of testing limits of what others deem impossible.
As a result, the Company delivers value for clients; completes projects on time and to order; is commercially pragmatic; acts with cast-iron integrity; and is an innovator in its field.
“Now, looking forward to this time next year, we will be ongoing with the development of infrastructure at Vipingo Industrial City,” Adeya concludes with a glimpse to the future. “We also target to have begun the initial stages of developing the lifestyle city at Vipingo.
“Furthermore, we should also be working on phase two of Pearl Marina development as well as Two Rivers Development.”