Westgate, Nairobi

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Westgate Shopping Mall
Nakumatt Westgate.JPG
Westgate Shopping Mall in July 2007.
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Coordinates 1°15′24.49″S 36°48′11.82″E / 1.2568028°S 36.8032833°E / -1.2568028; 36.8032833Coordinates: 1°15′24.49″S 36°48′11.82″E / 1.2568028°S 36.8032833°E / -1.2568028; 36.8032833
Address Mwanzi Road, Westlands
Opening date 2007 (2007),
18 July 2015 (2015-07-18) (reopening)
Owner Sony Holdings [1]
No. of stores and services 80+
Total retail floor area 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2)
No. of floors 5
Website http://www.westgate.co.ke

Westgate Shopping Mall (also known as Westgate) is an upscale shopping mall located in the Westlands division of Nairobi, Kenya. It was first opened in 2007. A 2013 terrorist attack on the mall resulted in the death of at least 67 people, including four attackers, with 175 non-fatal injuries. Three floors of the mall eventually collapsed.

The mall underwent refurbishments and subsequently reopened on 18 July 2015 with a reduced floor area. Reconstruction of the remainder of the mall is in progress.

Overview

The five-storey mall opened in 2007 and included 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) of retail space and housed more than 90 stores.[2] Nakumatt and Planet Media Cinemas anchor the mall. Other large units included Identity, Mr. Price Home, Artcaffe, and Barclays Bank on the ground floor, and Millionaires Casino on the second floor. Smaller units include outlets for international brands Adidas, Bata Shoes, CFC Stanbic Bank, Converse, FedEx, and Samsung Mobile.[3]

The luxury shopping center was popular with Kenya's new consumer class, as well as foreign officials and expatriates.[4][5]

2013 attack

The mall on 23 September 2013

On 21 September 2013, a group of 4 terrorists associated with the al-Shabaab militant group wounded and killed customers, employees and visitors at the Westgate mall in an extended attack, using firearms and hand grenades. At least 68 people were reportedly killed, with over 200 injured. The terrorists held many customers hostage and it took four days to end the attack.[6] By 25 September, three floors of the mall had collapsed because of it.[7]

Reopening

In March 2015, the Nairobi county government announced that it planned to reopen the Westgate mall after refurbishments.[8] Nakumatt, the mall's principal client, would increase its space within the mall. As well as previously present outlets choosing to continue operating in the mall, other new clients would open outlets in the mall, including the American fast food franchise Subway.[9]

The mall reopened on 18 July 2015, although parts of the mall which were badly damaged in the terrorist attack remained closed.[10] Legal proceedings with the insurer have delayed reconstruction.[11] About 90% of previous tenants of Westgate retained their leases, and IRG, an Israeli security company, was hired to train the mall's new security staff.[11]

The mall's reopening was met with mixed reactions. Some hailed it as a demonstration of Nairobi's resilience in the face of terrorism, while others criticised it as disrespectful to the victims, suggesting that it should be converted to a memorial site or a place of worship instead.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ Kenyan consumers win this round against al-Shabaab as Westgate mall reopens
  2. ^ "Shopping mall is premier complex that's home to international brands". Daily Nation. 21 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Westgate Shopping Mall at the Wayback Machine (archived 11 June 2012)
  4. ^ "Kenya Mall Attack: Death Toll Rises to 59". The Wall Street Journal. 22 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Gunmen Kill Dozens in Terror Attack at Kenyan Mall". The New York Times. 21 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Terrorist Attack in Kenya Mall leaves over 60 Dead". Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "Kenya president: Mall siege over, 3 mall floors collapsed". USA Today. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Kenya announces plans to reopen Nairobi mall after attack". Reuters. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Vincent Achuka (11 July 2015). "Final touches as Westgate mall set to reopen on July 18". Daily Nation. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "Kenya's Westgate shopping mall reopens after tragedy". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
  11. ^ a b Zirulnick, Ariel (2015-07-18). "Kenyan consumers win this round against Al Shabaab as Westgate Mall reopens". Quartz. Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
  12. ^ "Kenya's Westgate reopens after 2013 terror attack - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2015-07-19. 
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