City Hall has partnered with two Chinese Companies to put up 55,000 apartments in Eastlands in an ambitious housing project starting February next year.
In separate Memoranda of Understanding between Governor Evans Kidero and China Sichuan Wande Investment Group chief executive Xue Li and China Railways 18th Bureau Group boss Xue Dewen, the two firms have agreed to finance the projects that seek to provide affordable housing to residents of Eastlands.
New apartments China Sichuan will construct 40,000 apartments as China Railways builds the other 15, 000.
The units that will be built in Ziwani, Pangani, Majengo, Kaloleni and Shauri Moyo estates will then be sold to city residents at 25 per cent lower than the market price.
According to the agreement signed between Nairobi City County and China Sichuan, Sh17.2 billion will be channelled towards this project as start-up capital from the group as the County government provides land.
The undertaking will help ease city’s housing deficit that stands at 150,000 housing units.
Other cooperation areas are design of the structures, the engineering work, and procurement.
“The project will run for five years and seeks to put up 40,000 apartments targeted at low income residents at affordable rates and not less than the market price,” it says The urban renewal and re-development for Nairobi’s Eastlands involves housing units, local support for the infrastructure, and parking complexes.
The 15,000 housing project by China Railways is expected to cost about Sh1 billion. Each unit will measure about 60 metres squared.
Dr Kidero said the pact limits the number of expatriates the two companies can bring into the country.
“The aim of this is to offer jobs to our local residents; the labour will be sourced locally unless there is no adequate number of experts available here. The same applies to the raw materials to be used during the construction,” he said The county executive in charge of Finance Gregory Mwakanongo is expected to write to the Bank of China any time from now for the funds to be released. The national government will act as a guarantor on the financial agreement.
“The county government should request the Ministry of Finance to issue a formal fund application letter to the relevant finance institution in China,” the MoU states.
Current occupants The current occupants of the houses will be relocated to the new building that will be built in phases. And with fears among residents in the affected areas that they might lose homes, the Executive Committee member for Planning and Housing Tom Odongo said none of them will be displaced when construction begins.
“Nobody will be displaced, that is the essence of urban renewal — not to interfere with people’s livelihoods,” he said “We will first set up houses in the idle land within these estates, relocate the residents there before we can then demolish the existing structures,” he explained The existing structures are currently owned by the County government and are rented out to residents at below the market rates.
Mr Odongo said the aim of the undertaking, which is meant to serve 650,000 city dwellers, is to improve their quality of life by creating a mini city in Eastlands; something he added will lead to job creation.
Mr Odongo defended the sale of the buildings saying more city residents will get an opportunity to own homes as a result.
“We want to retain minimal unit and the aim is to encourage people to own homes. It will drastically change the housing market in the city, a market that has increasingly alienated the lower income bracket,” he said.