A group of investors has unveiled a Sh40 billion leisure and property development plan in Eldoret town, giving western Kenya its first taste of the seven-year real estate market boom that has been mainly concentrated in the capital, Nairobi.
The ambitious project, known as Sergoit Golf and Wildlife Resort, is hinged around the theme of luxury living, leisure and recreation in a design that partly mirrors Nairobi’s Tatu City development.
Tourism minister Najib Balala officially launched the mega real estate plan that will also feature a wildlife sanctuary, signaling the intention of its backers to make it a hub for visitors to the western tourist circuit.
The plan is to build the prime residential, sports and business village that is located 15 kilometres north east of Eldoret town in four phases. It will feature more than 2,000 villas, three golf courses, a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, conference centre, private hospital and an airstrip on a 3,100-acre piece of land.
“Our intention is to develop a concept that offers Rift Valley residents and Kenyans at large to own property in a secure, gated and well serviced environment,” said Mr Joshua Chepkwony, the chairman of Sergoit Holdings, the company behind the project. “The goal is to ultimately create a well planned, self-contained Satellite City of Eldoret.”
Sergoit Holdings Limited has set 2016 as the date for completion. Each phase will take a year to finish and will be purely financed by private investors.
“Each of the four phases will cost about Sh10 billion and we expect to finish the first phase in a year’s time,” said Mr Chepkwony. He said directors of the company were in talks with KCB and Cooperative banks to finance those seeking to invest in the property.
Mr Chepkwony, who is also the chairman of Jamii Telecoms, said the idea was born out of discussions with business-minded Kenyans from the region and is a hybrid of several ideas borrowed from South Africa, Nairobi’s Tatu City, Thika Greens and Kiambu’s Migaa.
“Our vision was further endorsed by Eldoret’s twin legacies of sports and wildlife tourism that should get a big boost from the development,” he said.
Like Tatu City, the company will put up an independent management company to build and manage physical infrastructure including roads, power, water, waste, drainage, fibre optic connection among others.
“The golf city will be co-owned by directors of Sergoit and private investors in the ratio of 52:48,” said Mr Chepkwony.
Private developers can buy plots at a price of between two and seven million Shillings and put up the structures as laid out in the master plan.
“All property within the golf city will be built according to four pre-approved house designs,” Mr Chekwony said. Shareholders will enjoy free membership to the golf club and access to the Club House.
Sergon Holdings Limited is owned by 20 shareholders including Mr Francis Kollum —the CEO designate, and Mr Jason Kapkirwok, a former director of group strategy at Kenya Airways.
The leisure and golf resort city will feature scenic nature and fitness trails, a view of game and scenery, rock climbing spots, athletic training tracks and a water splash. The game sanctuary will have giraffes, antelopes and birds.
The initial phase of the project will involve construction of 626 villas located near Sergoit Hill, a tree covered rocky outcrop with about 400 acres dominating the flat landscape.
“A track along the slopes of Sergoit hill will be developed into a high-altitude athletic training facility – in recognition to the contribution that Eldoret has made to the world athletic excellence,” Mr Chepwony said.
Inventors of the Sergoit real estate development are hoping to tap into the growing middle and upper income households in the region and the millionaire athletes around Eldoret.
Eldoret is the fifth largest city and one of the fastest growing with a population of about a quarter a million. It is strategically positioned to serve not only Kenya but the neighbouring countries of Uganda and South Sudan.
The Rift Valley town whose economy is hinged on large-scale agriculture is home to Moi University, Moi Referral Hospital, a KCC milk processor and banks among other major learning, business and recreation institutions.
Investors in the real estate plan will be required to enter into a 99-year lease agreement with Sergoit Holdings Limited and the price of each property includes shares in Sergoit Golf and Wildlife Resorts.
An airstrip will be constructed during the second phase alongside an 18-hole golf course, and a golf estate with luxury villas on varying plot sizes which will be offered for sale after construction.
The 5-Star Hotel with modern amenities and services is part of the third phase plan. Retirement homes will be part of the last phase expected to be completed between 2015 and 2016.
The entire development will be designed with a ‘green’ theme, with emphasis on sustainability and harmony with nature.
Organic green gardens — spread round the property — will provide fresh vegetables and fruits to residents and visitors.
Besides relying on electricity from the national grid, Sergoit Golf & Wildlife Resort will supplement its power with wind power and solar energy.
This is the latest of the ongoing shift by real estate developers being pushed out of Nairobi by the high cost of land, adding a new dimension to Kenya’s property market growth as the developers move to smaller towns.
Latest market data indicates that there has been a marked upsurge in construction of new houses in Naivasha, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nakuru – a trend that is expected to ease demand for homes in Nairobi and help tame price inflation.
Other projects lined up outside Nairobi include a Sh1 billion investment into a 190 houses project by property firm Translakes Limited in Kisumu, expected to be completed by May 2012. Translakes is also eying Eldoret, Nakuru, and Mombasa with similar projects.
“There is demand for housing across these towns supported by the ever-growing rank of middle income earners in regional outposts such as Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru who are also competing against Kenyans abroad,” said Mr Daniel Ojijo, the executive chairman of Mentor Holdings and project managers of Translakes Estate.
Naivasha, the Rift Valley town that is located about 90 kilometres west of Nairobi has also attracted a Sh1.2 billion real estate investment for 342 three bed-roomed bungalows complete with a golf course.