Thika town, the new Nairobi suburb

By Ferdinand Mwongela

The Nairobi Metro 2030 vision launched by the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development in July 2008 was to make Nairobi a "world class metropolis."

Towards realising the vision, the creation of bypasses around the city was mooted and the expansion of the Thika-Nairobi Highway which is currently underway. The expansion of the road from four to eight-lane superhighway is expected to contribute immensely to the economic and social development of Kenya and the neighbouring countries.

One of the many academic institutions along Thika Road. [Photos: MARTIN MUKANGU and Jeniffer Wachie/Standard]

For all these development, access to the capital city is a major factor thanks to the new highway and the proposed metro railway.

Speaking during the handing over of a phase of the development to developers, Anfield Holdings, Housing Finance’s Managing Director, Frank Ireri said such developments were the way to go.

"Integrated settlements are the future because they create economic efficiency in usage. They bring together all the elements that customers demand, which is ‘walk to work’ lifestyle, shopping complexes, facilities for leisure and entertainment," he said. And this is the approach most developers have taken, considering the gated communities coming up to the East of the city.

Last month saw the launch of another ambitious project in Thika, a multi-billion Golf Estate by Thika Greens Limited.

According to the managing director Charles Kibiru, Thika has got a lot of things going for it and will soon be seen a Nairobi suburb. However, apart from the anticipated ease of accessibility, Kibiru points out, the areas’ favourable climate is another driving factor as is the availability of land. "The weather in Thika is good," he says. The area boasts of a cool weather with reliable rainfall, the opposite of Kitengela and Athi River areas, which lie on the plains towards Kajiado.

Three-star hotel

The developers claim Thika Greens is going to be a study in sustainable development. Lying on 1,135 acres, it will be made up of two residential developments. The first a 900-unit middle-income residential phase and the second an 800-residential unit golf estate. Other facilities on the estate include a three-star hotel, a school and a private member’s clubhouse overlooking an 18-hole championship golf course designed by a leading course architect, DDV Design Group Golf of South Africa.

Kibiru says the infrastructure for the estate that costs Sh2.2 billion will begin next month. A Chinese construction company, MCC4, is the contractor. The land on the other hand cost about Sh1.8 billion. The first phase will have about 960 houses with an average price of Sh7 million, a total of Sh6.72 billion. The estate should be complete in two years.

The project coordinator Robert Bunyi said buyers had over 20 housing designs to choose from. Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth said this would be a flagship project that will attract more development to the area that falls under his constituency.

Jacaranda Garden’s Eunice Njenga says among the things attracting developers to this area is the price, saying it is cheaper than the upmarket areas in the city like Lavington while at the same time providing facilities that are just as good. She adds that the developments going on in this area are a strong selling point. Jacaranda Gardens is an 840 two, three and four-bedroom apartments coming up on Kamiti Road, off Thika Road. Common ancillary facilities include a 500 square metres swimming pool, clubhouse with modern gymnasium, commercial centre and nursery school.

Without a doubt the improved transport towards Thika town has made the town a booming real estate destination and an industrial centre.