Investors are making a beeline for Kisumuâ€™s Kondele once the epicentre of violence that followed the last general election. Whereas one plans a supermarket, others in real estate, hardware, eateries among others have their sights trained at the junction.
Mr Mahesh Patel having bought the building that housed the Grand Kimwa hotel said he will be setting up a supermarket.
â€œKondele is fantastic for business although itâ€™s everyoneâ€™s hope that we will not have a repeat of 2008 chaos,â€ said the former teacher turned businessman.
The centre lies at a junction of Kisumu-Kakamega and Kisumu-Kibos highways link with Jomo Kenyatta highway as one drives into Kisumu.
That Kondele also serves as the confluence to six Kisumu estates; Kenya-Re, Migosi, Manyatta, Mambo leo, Kibos car wash and the Kisumu latest suburb â€” Riat hills, explains why Mr Patel thought of a retail store.
â€œThis population is too big not to have a supermarket and I am going to give it to them,â€ he said.
Mr Patel is not the only one; other investors too are warming up to Kondele as they seek to tap into this new market. From commercial to residential buildings, from hospitality to entertainment joints as well as banks no one is leaving anything to chance.
The Cooperative Bank, for instance, has set up a branch a few metres from the Kibuye open air market. It becomes the first bank to establish a presence in Kondele while others are relying on agents perhaps a pointer to the high circulation of money in the area.
Property experts said investors are preparing to milk the benefits expected from the construction of the Northern corridor whose channel comes from the Mau Summit-Kericho-Kisumu road and is to pass through Kondele.
Mr Wycliffe Abok of Kisumu Real estate said the value of land and rental houses in Kondele and estates beyond has been on a sharp increase over the past two years. He said property business has shifted towards the previously least populated side of Kisumu.
â€œOne acre of land now goes at Sh10 million on the lower side up from about Sh6 million two to three years ago,â€ said Mr Abok.
He said a self-contained two-bedroom house in estates branching off Kondele goes at an average of Sh15,000 compared to Sh10,000 three years back, adding that demand for housing by far outstrips supply.
â€œAt Kondele, you have agents to all the banks; there are nyama choma joints, big shops, pubs and even gyms. So one feels comfortable without having to visit town, which explains the surge in housing demand,â€ said Mr Abok.
Stonemasons and transporters have pitched camp next to Kondele Police Station to take advantage of the heightened property development.
Businessmen selling bricks, jikos, boda boda operators as well as water vendors are awash at the market, an evidence of the booming business.
The heightened property development, therefore, explains why hardware shops are located at virtually every turn in the estate.
Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nyanza chapter chairman Odhiambo Kitoto attributes the heightened economic activities in the once volatile section of Kisumu to its high population and space for expansion.
â€œThose areas of Kondele have a very high concentration of people which translates to increased demand for goods and services, and then there is available land for development and expansion of property too,â€ he said.
Mr Kitoto, however, said the high population consists of many unemployed youth who idle at bus stages waiting for an opportunity to make quick money, albeit illegally.
â€œDue to their idleness, these youth will create a scenario where they must make quick money, including sparking riots at the slightest incitement,â€ he said.
Kondele OCS Johnstone Wanyama said his officers are working hard to restore eroded investor confidence in Kondele. â€œThis area has had a bad reputation in the past but I can assure investors that I will not condone lawlessness,â€ he said.
The officer, who was late last year returned to Kondele due to public demand following a spate of insecurity incidents in Kisumu, said he is prepared to arrest insecurity in the volatile estate.
To him, no activity can thrive under insecurity and that is why respect for the rule of law tops his list of priorities for residents of Kondele.-Nation