In 2014, departed former President Mwai Kibaki sold his 14-floor building to Mt Kenya University founder Simon Gicharu in a multimillion deal making it one of the priciest real estate transactions that year.
Kibaki sold Union Towers to MKU for KSh 800 million.
Gicharu said the university acquired the building to pave way for the establishment of a Virtual Learning Center.
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He termed the location of the building attractive and suitable for its planned expansion.
“We have been pursuing avenues to strengthen our virtual learning programmes and will be using the premises to coordinate it,” Gicharu said.
The transaction was financed through a long-term debt from a local lender.
Following the deal, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) authorized the transfer of the building to the university.
Until its acquisition, the building belonged to Parkway Investment Limited, a company Mr Kibaki co-owned with former minister Njoroge Mungai.
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The building hosted MKU having occupied a number of floors in the building. It also housed Dedan Kimathi University city campus.
MKU campus operates in major towns including Nairobi, Thika, Mombasa, Meru, Nakuru, Mumias, Eldoret, Kitale, Lodwar, Kakamega and Kabarnet.
It also has a campus in Kigali, Rwanda and a marketing office in Juba, South Sudan.
The institution was founded in 1996 as Thika Institute of Technology by Gicharu.
In 2000 the Institute developed into a commercial college offering management and computer training programmes.
Later in the year the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Kenya recognized the institute as a fully-fledged institution of higher learning and granted it a full registration approval.
By 2006, the Commission for University Education Kenya had approved the institute’s request for collaboration with JKUAT to offer both diploma and degree programmes.
After fulfilling all the requirements, the Commission for Higher Education issued MKU with the authority to establish a full-fledged privately funded university
MKU became the first private institution in Kenya to be allowed to train pharmaceutical technologists by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of the Kenya Ministry of Health.