Artistic impression of the city new looks
Kisii town has grown rapidly in the last decade, outstripping its planners’ original estimate for a population of 50,000. The town is now home to more than 200,000 people, with the number set to expand as business and investment opportunities increase.
Kisii County’s housing sector has seen an unprecedented boom over the same period, driven by a vibrant tertiary education sector, banking, insurance, agribusiness and rental businesses. The boom was spurred into overdrive by the post-election violence in 2007-2008, which saw a large number of business people move to the town, which did not experience any of the upheavals that characterised most urban areas.This sudden population increase saw the rents of most business premises and residences shoot up, bringing an unexpected windfall to landlords.The cosmopolitan town has since seen an explosion in real estate, with many enterprising individuals taking bank loans to build residential complexes to take advantage of the huge demand for housing. However, with the ever shrinking land sizes due to the rapid population increase, a housing shortage has hit the county hard, with new rental properties barely able to meet the demand for new and modern housing.As a result, plans are underway to build a Sh12billion city in Kisii County on a parcel of land yet to be determined.
The proposed city is just one of the many developments that followed the successful Entrepreneurship Summit held in Kisii Town in February.
Governor James Ongwae has already signed the deal with a Chinese firm, Boleyn Magic Wall, which pitched for the massive project that, once complete, will change the county’s skyline.
According to Mr Jack Liu, the firm’s managing director, the construction of the proposed ciy will take three years, and will be undertaken jointly with a local property developer, Moke Gardens.
MORE THAN 2,000 HOUSING UNITS
Mr Liu says his firm will build more than 2,000 housing units.
Moke Gardens Chief Executive Officer Mr Harun Nyamboki concurs, says they are “well oiled” and will build the city in three years, given that they will use precast building technology.He noted said that technology has an added advantage since it does not require plastering, formworks, wooden works or scaffolding.
Also to be included in the envisioned city are modern residential apartments, office buildings, shopping malls, kindergartens, schools, a health centre, and a city hall, among other facilities.Kisii County has been facing an acute shortage of housing, a situation that has been blamed on the scarcity of land.
Mr Nyamboki said that they have positioned their firms to provide cheap construction solutions to the Lake Region.The technology, which reduces the cost of homes by 20-30per cent, will make it possible to provide housing for low- and middle-income earners, which are in very high demand.
He further notes that the technology can be used to build high-rise apartments, standalone houses, large-scale housing units such as those required in police stations and army barracks, schools and churches, among others.Mr Liu says besides providing quick solutions in housing, precast technology tames the rising costs of construction. Kisii County Deputy Communication director Mr Kenan Miruka said they have undertaken preliminary feasibility studies for the project and have a green light for it to go on.Mr Nyamboki said construction would begin on 50 acres of land but would gradually expand.He added that the structural designs were ready adding that the city will be similar to Silicon Valley in the US or the envisaged Konza technopolic in Makueni County.