15 November 2018

Kenya: Kiambu Greenery Gives Way to Concrete in Housing Schemes

Mushrooming multimillion high-end gated apartments, a recently opened hypermarket and an upcoming Sh2.1 billion housing project, is the current status of Thindigua, a fast growing area along Kiambu Road, which previously was an agricultural zone.

The area, which was previously characterised by coffee plantations, is fast getting a major facelift as investors in the real estate sector scramble for available space to put up rental and sale houses as they seek to make a kill from the growing demand for houses.

Favoured by its proximity to the capital and availability of land, though expensive, Thindigua and its environs which include Kasarini, Kugeria and Mushroom have also attracted investors in the hospitality sector who are putting up hotels and clubs.

"The land was owned by a few people who have since portioned it for sale to people who have either developed residential houses for sale or rental flats.

The development has also attracted entrepreneurs who are putting up businesses and private schools targeting the habitats," John Kimani, a resident said.

Though expensive, majority of investors have been rushing here due to its conducive environment and proximity to Nairobi, making it an ideal suburb for people working in the city.

The now densely populated area, which stretches from Kiambu Road to near Windsor Country Club is currently dotted with high-end apartments selling up to Sh13 million depending while the rental ones are going for as high as KS 45,000 for three-bedroom depending on size and location.

One of the upcoming real estate project is a Sh2.1 billion housing project dubbed Green Zone being developed by Habitat Housing Co-operative Societies, an organisation that draws its membership from United Nations workers.

AFFORDABLE

The project which was started two months ago, and whose official groundbreaking was presided by African Union's High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa Raila Odinga and Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Friday last week comprises of seven-eight storey blocks.

Mr Dominic Mwenda, the Sacco chairman said the project, which is in partnership with Krishna Group and is being implemented by Meera Construction Limited, a subsidiary of Krishna, comprises two and three-bedroom apartments sitting on a two-and a half acre piece of land.

The units, which according to Mr Mwenda will be open even to non-members, are selling at Sh11 million for three-bedrooms while two-bedrooms units are selling at Sh7.5 million per unit, adding that the mode of payments is gradual to ensure their targeted clients are able to afford.

According to Mr Vijay Ghaghada, a director at Meera Group, a total of 224 units will be construction in the first phase while the second phase will consist of 225 units, making it the biggest housing project within the area.

"For the first phase, we have a total of seven towers of eight floors each, whereby the two towers of two-bedroom units comprises of 64 units and a total of 160 units three bedroom units," he said, adding that the project is expected to be completed within the next two years.

The units, he said will have premium finishing with fully fitted kitchens, solar water heaters, a swimming pool, children's play area and high-speed lifts, in line with green and sustainable buildings standards.

BEEFED UP SECURITY

Security will be beefed up for residents using electric fences, CCTV surveillance cameras, security guards and a controlled entry and exit system, to suit the UN security standards.

Several miniature gated community apartments with superior finishing have also been coming up in the area, and the existence of dozens of signboards along the main road advertising availability of houses in the area is a manifestation that the area has been receiving unprecedented growth.

At the local shopping centre which also doubles as the main bus stop, developers have erected signboards of several upcoming and already completed apartments either for sale or to let.

Other notable real estate projects include Sh160 million apartment block dubbed Grand Ville Apartments by Dinara, which consists of 40 two-bedroom apartments, Thindigua Heights and Brisbane Heights by Kingspride Properties.

Leisure facilities in the area include Woody Garden, a nightclub located behind Quick Mart Supermarket that is fast gaining popularity as well as the newly opened Pelikan Village Club which is located next to the supermarket.

LAND VALUE

The development has seen land value shoot to the rooftop, with a quarter of an acre selling up to Sh30 million.

Cytonn Real Estate, the development affiliate of Cytonn Investments, in its last year's Nairobi Metropolitan Area Residential Report placed Thindigua as among the most attractive areas for development together with Ridgeways, Lang'ata and Juja.

The report themed "Pockets of Value in the Face of Declining Performance" focused on the performance and the investment opportunity in the residential sector in Nairobi Metropolitan Area in 2017.

According to Mr John Mwaniki, the director of Jekmas Services a property agent, Thindigua is reaping form easy accessibility to both Kiambu and Nairobi towns which save commuters from heavy traffic nightmares like on other areas and has a conducive environment.

From Thindigua, it takes a motorist less than ten minutes to get to the city when there is no heavy traffic and less than five minutes to get to Kiambu town.

Commuters can board public service vehicles to and from Kiambu and Nairobi Towns, just a few meters from their residence and pay between Sh50 to Sh70 from during the rush hour and Sh20 and Sh30 during off-peak hours.

"Kiambu town is congested and most of the people working in Nairobi as well as Kiambu town require somewhere to live and therefore investors are taking advantage of the situation to build houses where plots are available," Mr Mwaniki said.

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