Refurbished NICO House launched back to life in theme ‘Renewing Our Cities’

NICO House, situated at the corner of Stewart Street and Haile Selassie Avenue in Blantyre’s central business district (CBD) — whose top floor was gutted by fire on October 5, 2018 — has been thoroughly rehabilitated and was launched in a colourful ceremony.

NICO Group, which is commemorating its 50th anniversary, also launched its Kapeni House, situated at the corner of Chilembwe Road and Victoria Avenue — opposite FDH Bank and NBS House — also in Blantyre.

The Mayor after cutting the ribbon to officially open NICO House

The NICO House and the 50-year-old Kapeni House are wearing a complete new facade with modern office space and the occasion was graced by Mayor of the City of Blantyre, Councillor Wild Ndipo since the ceremony was held under the theme ‘Renewing Our Cities’.

The Mayor applauded NICO Life, Eris Properties and Icon Properties under the NICO Group “for its undeniable commitment to changing the landscape of the city”.

“In my role as the Mayor of Blantyre, one of my duties is to administer the city’s development because the biggest indicator of any city’s development or economy is its infrastructure.

“We have all heard of cities across the world that are known for their remarkable buildings — you can therefore imagine the great displeasure that it gives me to take a drive around our CBD and see more dilapidated buildings than flourishing ones.”

Mayor Ndipo, said most buildings in Blantyre CBD are an eyesore and thus commended NICO Group “for its commendable efforts that have borne great fruits”.

The new look NICO House

“I must say that I was quite devastated when I received news of the fire that gutted down NICO House in 2018 and I made it a point to visit the building to assess the situation where I was assured that it will be brought back to life.

“A shabby building right at the entrance of the CBD is a perfect headache for anyone in my position and a fire often means that the city will host a ramshackle building for the many years to follow.

“Not only did NICO quickly rebuild the NICO House but it also renovated Kapeni House at the centre of Blantyre and I hope that other organisations will emulate this great example.

“This event not only celebrates the buildings and the beauty that they add to the city, but also the opportunities and great service that such infrastructure has provided and will continue to provide to our community for many years to come,” the Mayor said.

At the NICO House, NICO Life Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eric Chapola said they stand tall to open the refurbished NICO House under the theme ‘Renewing Our Cities’ as it has added an ambience to Blantyre CBD.

“This is a memorable day for NICO Group through NICO General, NICO Life and NICO Pensions,” he said. “We stand tall this afternoon to confidently reaffirm that insurance pays, especially if you insure with NICO.”

The building belongs to NICO Life and it is insured with NICO General. As soon as it caught fire on a Friday, management moved swiftly that by Monday it was operating its services without interruptions as all the data and information that was destroyed were recovered from their disaster recovery site in Lilongwe.

The services of NICO General, NICO Life and NICO Pensions — whose offices were on the gutted top floor of the building — were relocated to NBS House and Umoyo House along Victoria Avenue.

“This is our assurance that our services are solid and we are truly one,” Chapola said. “We are celebrating 50 years of constant success and this should give our clients the confidence to maintain doing business with us.”

Eris Properties CEO, Ellen Nyasulu described NICO’s initiative as a new age of infrastructure, saying the Group has over 70,000 sq meters of space they use and rent out.

These are in NICO House, Chibisa House, Chichiri Shopping Malawi, Kapeni House in Blantyre; Kangombe Building and Lilongwe City Mall.

She said they found it imperative that since Kapeni is 50 years, this was an opportunity to be given another strength of life to surpass its former facade to add beauty to the city.

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