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EPZA to host 5,000 houses in Athi River

EPZ premises in Athi River
EPZ premises in Athi River, Machakos County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) has invited mass housing investor-developers to bid for a joint venture to build 5,000 units on its Athi River land.

The move is likely to pose major competition to landlords in Kitengela, where most EPZ staff live, and in Athi River.

Acting chief executive George Makateto said the one to three bedroomed units will house employees of all cadres and property owners.

“We have a crucial role to play in alleviating housing shortage within areas we operate in and that has seen us identify 71.7 acres suitable for construction of residential houses with accompanying social amenities within Athi River Township,” he said.

EPZA’s Request for Proposals (RPF) said investor-developers will be tasked with master planning, providing building models and technologies as well as pledge funding for the project.

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Mr Makateto said the project was aimed at enhancing productivity within EPZ-based factories by making it easy for investors to set up faster and launch their investments.

“Our role is to ease impediments to export-oriented investments within EPZA areas and housing challenges is a major problem for many firm owners and employees,” he said.

According to a sector survey report by realtor, Ritz Housing and Properties managing director Samuel Mathenge, EPZ “rich” areas have experienced the highest rent increase, with Kitengela township reporting a monthly median rental price for a one-bedroomed house of Sh15,000, an increase of 8.45 percent between the third quarter of 2018 and 2019.

Mr Makateto said the need for conducive conditions for incoming investors including housing is a win-win arrangement where the investor-developer will recoup investments via rental payments before finally ceding ownership of the property to EPZA.

“We have invited investor-developers with experience in such developments and we shall scrutinise the bids come December 20 when the bids close,” said M Makateto.

The project will come besides the planned housing development under the State mass housing scheme to be implemented in the same Mavoko area.

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