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City Hall now orders Sarit Centre to stop building Sh4bn wing

Sarit Centre mall
Sarit Centre mall has been in business since 1983. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Owners of Sarit Centre shopping mall have been ordered to stop construction of its Sh4 billion wing which is said to have encroached on a public road, dealing a major blow to the expansion.

Nairobi County issued the directive yesterday in a letter addressed to the management of the business complex, which is located in the upmarket Westlands shopping centre.

City Hall wants the owners of the complex to furnish the director of parking services with proof of allocation and approval of plans for verification, while stating that the latest extension had eaten into Mikinduri Road.

Sarit Centre Director Nitin Shah declined to comment on the matter Thursday, saying he was busy and would only talk next week.

“It is noted that you have ignored the said order and continued to construct on a public road at Sarit Centre with impunity thus denying the public the use of the said road,” says the Nairobi County Director for Parking Services, Tom Tinega, in the letter.

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“You are further informed that encroachment of public land is a criminal offence and any proof of allocation and approval of plans should be submitted immediately to the director of Parking for verification,” he says.

Wave of demolitions

The future of the new wing which has been under construction is uncertain given the wave of demolitions that have hit the city over the past few months.

It now faces similar fate with Airgate Centre, formerly known as Taj Mall, Ukay Centre and Shell Petrol station in Lavington, some of the billion-shilling buildings that were torn down last year for occupying road and riparian reserves.

Airgate Centre, in Embakasi, was brought down on claims that the mall, situated at the junction of Outer Ring Road and the Eastern bypass, had encroached on the road reserve, hindering its expansion.

Construction of Sarit Centre’s latest extension, which is almost complete, started back in 2017 when the proprietor unveiled a Sh4 billion plan for the new wing as it aimed to re-invent itself in the wake of growing competition from its peers, including the Village Market.

Close friends

The shopping complex, which opened its doors in April 1983, was founded by two close friends — Sobhagayachand Vidhu Shah (Nitin’s father) and Maneklal Rughani. The new wing being constructed adjacent to the existing mall is set to add an extra 300,000 square feet of space.

Some of the retailers who have expressed interest in moving into the new shopping centre are Turkey’s fashion label LC Waikiki, South Africa’s Woolworths and French retailer Carrefour.

Carrefour is set to move to a bigger space at the mall’s new wing after completion.

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