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Real estate battle switches to ‘live, work and play’ projects

By Peter Muiruri | Published Thu, August 31st 2017 at 10:58, Updated August 31st 2017 at 12:07 GMT +3
Montave, a proposed development that presents an intricate mix of shopping, working, visiting, living and leisure at 3.54 acre site in Upperhill, Nairobi.

NAIROBI, KENYA: A few metres from the junction of Lower Hill Road and Haile Selassie Avenue, Nairobi, bulldozers will soon start roaring to life and cranes rise to the skies when construction of one of the most ambitious projects in the country starts on the more than three-and-a-half acres just a stone’s throw away from the city centre.

If all goes according to plan, the eucalyptus trees will be replaced by towering concrete and glass structures that will change the city’s skyline in the next three years. Expected to rise 160 metres into the sky, Montave, launched last year, will usher in one of the most prestigious mixed-use developments that proprietors say will offer “the best in luxury and practicability” at a convenient and central location.

When completed, Montave will have 344 apartments on 19 floors comprising one, two, three-bedroom apartments and penthouses. There will be a 36-floor office tower, a shopping mall, a mini-theatre, resident and business lounges.

Also included will be a hotel tower with 147 serviced apartments and suites in 40 floors. For entertainment the development has planned an elevated park, a grand piazza, a 30-metre infinity pool and a health club.

Prospective residents of Montave will part with Sh8.9 million for a one-bedroom luxury apartment, Sh12.9 million for two bedrooms and Sh22.9 million for three bedrooms apartments at the off-plan sales phase.

This is just one of the many mixed use developments coming up in Nairobi and its environs, as well as other parts of the country.

Mixed use developments are becoming all the rave. According to Knight Frank, these developments are not the traditional, one high-rise buildings with a mix of retail space on the lower floors, office space on the upper floors, and, occasionally, some penthouses on the top-most floors. “What we are seeing today are properly integrated developments delivering commercial, residential and retail space in far bigger magnitudes,” says Knight Frank.

As Montave developers work to actualise their vision, some city residents are already living the dream. Take the case of Garden City. As visitors traverse the high-end shopping mall which is home to global brands, residents in any of the 159 apartments and 56 villas within the complex can walk into any of the eateries, grab a bite and retreat to the comfort of their homes. “Our integrated community offers the perfect environment for all sorts of people both for short- or long-term stays. It is popular with global contractors working in Kenya on short-term basis. It is also an ideal location for retirees who find convenient services from the nearby mall,” says Violet Kageha of Garden City Village’s sales and leasing section.

Garden City was the first fully-integrated development in Kenya. It was also the first private project of that nature to be granted a Vision 2030 status. The lifestyle is replicated in the newest kid on the block – Two Rivers, the integrated development situated between Limuru Road and the Northern Bypass. Sitting on 102 acres, Two Rivers consists of a huge retail mall, two office towers, residential apartments, hotels and recreational space.

Then there is Le’Mac, Kenya’s tallest mixed use development. Located on Church Road in Westlands, Nairobi, Le’Mac is a Sh3.5 billion structure of a modern and innovative design.

Anthony Mugo, an investor in an upcoming mixed-use development on Ngong Road, Nairobi, says convenience is the key word when it comes to such projects. “You have an ideal location that is conducive to the working class. For one, you avoid clogging the city’s arteries by having all the amenities under one roof. Such a hustle-free lifestyle goes along way in improving a person’s life,” says Mugo, adding that such mega projects act as magnets for human traffic.

One of the projects in which Mugo hopes to invest is an upcoming university hospital on Ngong Road. With works set to commence in January 2018, Mugo says this will be a boost to other developments within the complex such as residential units and social facilities.

“The university hospital will host a young population. This means any residential units such as studios, one or two-bedroom apartments will be up for grabs,” he says.

But a pleasant lifestyle or not, a mixed-use development must make business sense to investors. “Market demand is highest for developments that have enveloped high-end commercial, retail and leisure offerings on one site as they are able to attract a strong footfall. Such properties will command price appreciations of up to 40 per cent on top of average market rates,” said Sakina Hassanali, head of development, consulting and research at HassConsult during Montave’s launch last year. HassConsult was appointed to direct the design, construction and management of Montave.

Such mixed-use developments have become popular in many locations globally. In Dubai, for instance, residential homes, offices, and amusement parks compete for space with the city’s skyscrapers.