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Nairobi County approves Sh6.5bn Garden City housing project

Chris Coulson
Mi Vida CEO Chris Coulson during a media briefing at the firm's offices in Garden City on February 6. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA 

Nairobi County Government has finally approved the Sh6.5 billion residential property development at the Garden City Mall, eight months after it was mooted.

The Mi Vida project comprising a mix of one, two and three-bedroomed apartments totalling 628 units will be set on three high-rise buildings of 13 floors.

Mi Vida chief executive Chris Coulson said construction of the first 208 units starts immediately with the contractor, Esteel Construction, expected to complete the project within 24 months.

“We finally got our approval from the county authorities last Friday. It has been a long wait but we assure customers that construction will be completed on schedule,” he said. The project, a joint venture by India’s conglomerate Shapoorji Real Estate (SPRE) and UK equity investor Actis has since sold 93 units off-plan in phase one, mostly being one-bedroomed apartments by investor-buyers.

The joint venture was mooted last year with a Sh12 billion kitty set aside by the two firms eyeing middle class investments totalling 3,000 units in the coming years.

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“We fund projects to completion without seeking alternative costly funds like bank loans. Buyers signing contracts for the properties will receive their units on schedule,” he said.

A similar delay has disrupted the planned Sh5 billion 44 floor high-end residential development known as 88 Nairobi Condominium apartments in Upper Hill where rent was to start at Sh480,000 a month.

Other than due to approval delays, several other property developments across Kenya have stalled halfway due to lack of capital, with banks seizing incomplete and complete properties following default by investor-developers. The real estate sector is undergoing a lean period, negatively affected by the lack of credit for both developers and buyers and a tough economy where thousands of job losses have left many potential home buyers unable to do so.

In a newspaper notice published on Monday, Garam Investment Auctioneers advertised the sale of the proposed multi-billion shilling Aberdare Hills Golf Resort that was set to be built in Naivasha over failure by the developer to settle a bank loan of Sh1.2 billion.

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