Comfort, exclusivity get city dwellers looking at the holiday homes option
Posted Thursday, August 9 2012 at 11:20
Longonot Gate, is expected to be completed by 2020, setting the stage for the development of similar projects as exorbitant and unrealistic land prices in Nairobi push more prospective home owners farther from the city.
On the serene floor of the Great Rift Valley, some 70 kilometres north of Nairobi, a Sh85 billion real estate project is coming up that promises to redefine exclusive living outside the city.
Set on an expansive 2,400-acre parcel of land, the project has been designed on a golf resort theme that its proponent - a company owned by two families - expects will not only be a choice for individuals seeking to acquire holiday homes, but also a community where high-income earners working in Nairobi can actually live in.
And there is reason to believe that the Nairobi’s working class could consider buying their first homes there, considering that it is only an hour’s drive away, which compares to many city neighbourhoods given the slow traffic.
Tucked away at the foot of Mount Longonot, this planned exclusive community dubbed Longonot Gate, is expected to be completed by 2020, setting the stage for the development of similar projects as exorbitant and unrealistic land prices in Nairobi push more prospective home owners farther from the city.
The mega project is also expected to offer a wide range of facilities for sporting activities like polo and water sports, a strong indication that the buyers will be the newly rich that are highly aspirational.
Lee Karuri, chairman of Longonot Gate, says the concept is about creating a holistic community where families can live and play while enjoying the quiet countryside with an urban touch.
“Unlike most other projects of this nature which focus mainly on the golf facilities, this project is about creating a community where families can live in a quiet and secure setting,” says Karuri, whose firm owns the land and the concept of the resort that will also feature conference facilities and an 18-hole golf course.
The development will also feature a commercial centre - complete with a shopping mall, restaurants and a hotel, and social amenities including a school and hospital - all run as separate enterprises.
As a pointer on the target clientele, the project’s proponents are planning to develop a man- made lake complete with a marina that will be accessible to members of the expansive gated community.
A half-acre plot sells for Sh4 million, with the cost covering all infrastructure including water, paved roads, electricity, security and internet connectivity.
While the concept embraced at Longonot Gate is not exactly unique as there are a handful of similar developments across the country – it represents a significant shift in the development of housing from the traditional gated community setting in several residential estates in different Kenyan cities.
In Naivasha alone, Aberdare Hills, based on the same concept and estimated to be worth over Sh120 billion is also coming up, alongside two other projects of smaller magnitudes.
The excusive community sits right next to the Longonot National Park, a setting that is an extra incentive for game and conservation enthusiasts - along with a panoramic view of Lake Naivasha and the bush land that defines the Rift Valley.
Not much construction has happened yet, apart from the development of the basic road infrastructure, but the proponents say that the first set of buyers can start constructing their homes in October and should move in by 2014.
They have offered buyers several house designs to choose from in the envisaged community.