By Samuel Gitari, CEO, Rosam Real Estates Limited
The Proposed Greater Eastern Bypass means different things to different people. To some, they are just three words put together to label a road. To others, it’s another massive road meant to ease traffic in Nairobi and its environs. To the tenderpreneurs, it’s time to prepare tender documents and supply construction material. To others, it means nothing at all. But the big question is – What does the Greater Eastern Bypass mean to you?
To be able to answer this question effectively, you have to know the answer to its predecessor: What did the Eastern Bypass mean? Back in 2010 when the local newspapers first announced plans to construct a 39km road from the Ruiru- Kiambu road crossing Thika road, then kangundo road and proceeding to Mombasa Road via the Embakasi Garrison, this did not make news at all. That’s why the newspaper editors, knowing most Kenyans, decided to place this crucial information in the middle pages, somewhere between the classified, the obituaries and the sports.
This only became major news a few years later when the construction of the bypass occasioned a major property boom in a number of city suburbs. Around 2010, property agents were selling 50*100 plots in Membley for a mere 500,000, with room to bargain. But after the bypass construction began the plots shot to about 6M.
“Everybody rushed to buy plots in these areas because the road opened up the zones. When the demand is high, the price goes up,” said Mr Mwaniki, a land agent, while being interviewed by a local newspaper. “Right now, it is not easy to get a plot near the bypass because they have sold out.”
A few people, who had read the news between the sports page and the obituaries two years earlier, had become instant millionaires. Fast- forward, 9 years later to 2019, the investments this clique of investors have made on property they acquired for a song, will sustain their generations for years to come.
To many Kenyans, history repeats itself is a common-knowledge phrase cited in many casual discussions around the country. This phrase usually means that there is a strong likelihood that we (even those familiar with the phrase) will do, say or even think the same way we did, said or thought thus creating a similar if not the same outcome to a scenario. This has never been truer for most investors.
That is why when the local newspapers reported plans to construct the Greater Eastern Bypass link road; it did not make news at all. But to the investors who know what a bypass does to the economy in general and the owners of property in particular, then this was like music to their ears.
The Greater Eastern Bypass, which links Mombasa-Nairobi highway, the Kangundo-Nairobi and the Thika-Garissa roads is the latest in a series of projects, either in various stages of tendering, about to start or underway meant to decongest Nairobi city.
According to the KURA website, the Greater Eastern Bypass link road is 13.6% underway; this has been independently verified by Rosam Real Estates.
Rosam Real Estates, a real estate company with several projects along kangundo road, have just launched Waridi Gardens phase 3, a gated community project located at Joska along the Proposed Greater Eastern Bypass. About 200 Kenyans now have an opportunity to invest in a location that will change their lives and that of their loved ones.
“We have floated a tender for the construction of a link road from Eastern Bypass to the Greater Eastern Bypass road. The tender will be opened next month, awarded in April and we expect the contractor to move on site come May,’ said Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) Acting director-general Silas Kinoti, while reporting to the media.
The Kenya National Highways Authority has already earmarked Kangundo Road for an upgrade to a dual carriage road. The works have already begun at the intersection of Outer Ring Road at the former Caltex Petrol Station (now Total)and expected to proceed all the way to Joska, Kamulu, Malaa, Tala and finally to Kangundo town. For Joska, being 38km away from CBD, dualling of Kangundo road will open the area up tremendously.
Kangundo road is also home to the Northlands City, associated with the Kenyatta family. The family, which is among Kenya’s biggest landowners, wants to build the mixed-use development on an 11,000-acre farm that is currently occupied by its giant dairy processor Brookside.
Going by Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report submitted by Howard Humphreys (East Africa) Ltd for project and seen by the writer, the planned Northlands city will incorporate an industrial area, schools, a central business district, commercial spaces and low-to-high income residential areas. The SEA report indicates that the different zones will support a population of 250,000 people.
Brookside, the only occupant of the 11,576 acre piece of land, will continue occupying 65 acres while Gicheha Farm, which supplies milk to the factory and is located inside the project area, will not be untouched.