Meru town’s skyline is set to significantly change with the coming up of a 33-floor shopping mall.
The construction of the Sh6 billion Praise Mall on the bank of Kathita river, at the entrance of the town’s Central Business District has just started.
Already, the Jesus House of Praise, a church which had occupied the mall’s space for some years, has vacated the plot to pave way for the ambitious project.
The Praise Mall, which according to Bishop Kiogora Magambo of the Jesus House of Praise church will take three years to construct, will become the tallest building in the region.
It is almost twice the height of a 17-floor building inside Chuka University in the neighboring Tharaka Nithi County.
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Last week, the tent which hosted the Jesus House of Praise church and other structures was put down.
Traders who had also occupied the space were asked to leave while a perimetre fence is being put up.
The owners of the project, Praise Mall Ltd, said it is a mixed use development initiative and will host malls, supermarkets, hotels, hospitals, banks, office space, modern conference facilities and serviced apartments.
In addition, there will be a church auditorium. Magambo said the project has been thoughtfully planned. He added that it will create job opportunities for locals.
“It is a signature building which will define Meru and the entire Mt Kenya region,” said Bishop Magambo.
Municipality MCA Elias Murega and Gakii Karimi, a local farmer, expects that the tower will to lead to more business in Meru town.
“It is located right at the entrance of the town so it is a really welcome feature that will enhance the face of the town. It is a good thing for visitors to be welcomed into the capital of Meru by a tall, beautiful building,” said Mr Murega.
He also noted that the project will create an endless stream of jobs for young people, upon completion.
“It is going to completely alter the skyline and raise the profile of Meru town. At the same time, it will bring income generating activities in hospitality, health, agriculture and other sectors of the economy,” Murega added.
Ms Karimi said: “We are very hopeful even though it will take three years to complete. We will experience its benefits. We expect that farmers in this area will supply food to the supermarkets, hospitals and hotels in the building.”
The main contractor in the project is Jianxi Jingtai Water Conservancy and Electric Power Construction Ltd.