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Better security lures investors to Kamiti Corner




Better security lures property developers to area once shunned

Lifestyle Estate, a gated community under construction at Kamiti Corner along the Kiambu-Ruiru Road. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NMG 

Along the Kiambu-Ruiru Road, less than three kilometres from Kamiti Corner, stands an old and vandalised bungalow that is surrounded by unkempt bush.

The owner of the house was forced out over a decade ago by robbers, who used to make unwanted visits almost every day.

Over the years, criminals have looted anything valuable in it, leaving the property an eyesore.

The house has been a reminder of how the area has been insecure and also a monument to fear, scaring away investors.

The area, which stretches from Kamiti Corner to BTL Conference Centre, had been turned into a criminals’ paradise, who used to dump their carjacking and murder victims there. Driving on the road, sometimes even during the day, was unsettling.

Ruturo Trading Centre, which is located in the area, had stagnated for a long time, and has been characterised by old and dilapidated buildings even as commercial projects, including leisure facilities, continue to mushroom in neighbouring Kamiti Corner and bypass areas.

But in the recent past the area, which has for a long time been characterised by bushes and long grass, has been getting a major facelift as investors rush to put up real estate projects. This follows growing demand for housing, thanks to restored security.

The development has opened doors to other businesses and investors are now putting up modern commercial flats at Ruturo while others have been establishing hardware shops in the area as they seek to make a killing from the growing demand for building materials created by the upcoming real estate projects.

One of the upcoming projects is a 30-acre high-end gated community apartments called Lifestyle Heights by Home Bridge.

Mr Peter Karoki, one of the firm’s directors, said the project, which is being done in phases, will have one, two and three-bedroom units, with the first phase comprising 20 blocks of four to eight-floors and a mini commercial complex.

Some 11 of them, which comprise 420 units and which come with fitted kitchen, panoramic lifts, dedicated parking lot and the commercial complex, are almost complete with 30 per cent of them already sold out.

The project, which according to Mr Karoki will be complete in two years, has varying two and three-bedroom units — standard, deluxe or DSQ. The latter two are bigger and more elaborate.

The Lifestyle Estate also has a clubhouse, gym and swimming pool, children play area, basketball and tennis courts, sufficient underground and overhead water storage tanks with a capacity of two million litres, standby generator, access control and 24-hour manned security with CCTV.

Another upcoming housing project is a 100-acre gated community called River Run estate, which is being constructed by Cytonn Real Estate about four kilometres off Kiambu-Ruiru Road, and which is being done in three phases.

Ground breaking for the first phase of the project, which is valued at Sh15.3 billion, took place in April last year. According to the master plan, the project will comprise 600 stand-alone three and four-bedroom units with a two-space parking for each unit, which will be a mixture of villas, town house and semi-detached town houses.

Real estate firm Optiven Group has also announced plans to construct 400 luxury housing units named Amani Ridge on a 100 acre parcel of land in the area at a cost of Sh8 billion. It will incorporate a mini-mall, a police post and a tenants’ only clubhouse.

Group CEO George Wachiuri said the project is expected to have a running track and a sports ground adjacent to a community centre.

Mr John Mwaniki, the director of Jekmas Services, a real estate firm with interests in Kiambu and Nairobi, asked the government to improve the infrastructure in the area to unlock its potential.

“With good roads and other amenities, real estate players will definitely camp in an area they had previously shunned,” he said.