Major infrastructural projects in Mombasa west have sparked a rush for property and led to an unprecedented rise in land prices.
The airport and Port Reitz roads are being expanded into dual carriage, with the works on the projects expected to be completed in two months, signalling an end to traffic jams currently witnessed on the roads.
Construction of the Moi International airport road, costing about Sh5 billion, is expected to be completed by August according to Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA).
While the Port Reitz road is nearing completion, the first phase one of Dongo Kundu bypass which will cost Sh11 billion is over 70 per cent complete. The road links the port with Mombasa-Nairobi highway at Miritini and is expected to ease movement of cargo from the port.
Last week, KeNHA director general Peter Mundinia said the Sh6.5 billion contract for expansion of the 10-kilometre Mombasa-Jomvu road to a six lane superhighway had been awarded.
The roads are expected to address the traffic snarl ups in Magongo and Changamwe, opening up the areas for investors.
The roads, which form an important cluster around Mombasa port, will incorporate construction of interchanges and overpasses on a six-lane highway, the first time Mombasa is witnessing infrastructural investments of such a magnitude.
The Port Reitz and Changamwe to Moi International airport roads are crucial links to the newly constructed second container terminal and will improve evacuation of cargo from the port.
The just launched Mombasa-Nairobi train services on the Sh327 billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has seen a growing interest from property developers in areas around Miritini station, leading to appreciation of land prices.
“The SGR and expansion of the roads is a boost to not only Mombasa west property market but also to Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties. With the infrastructure developments, Mombasa property market is one of the biggest beneficiary and land along this corridor has already started appreciating,” said Anthony Murithi, Kenya Projects advisor.
Kenya Projects is a real estate firm focusing on budget housing units with developments in Mombasa, Kilifi county and Nairobi.
“Most business owners are also seeking to position their offices along the airport road and Miritini creating demand for office space. In turn this will encourage more developers to invest in construction of office blocks” he added.
The prospect of these locations undergoing a transformation have seen a lot of activity in land transactions resulting to doubling or even tripling of land prices over the past two years, according to surveyors.
In Port Reitz for instance, the price of an acre has doubled from Sh60 million just two years ago to the current Sh100 million. In Changamwe, an eighth of an acre that was going for Sh1 million is selling for over Sh2 million.
According to property developers, the land use is expected to change from residential to commercial with banks setting up branches and storage yards being set up for light industrial and commercial activities.
The same scenario is replicated along the 40-kilometre stretch between Mombasa and Mariakani where investors are buying huge chunks of land and putting up warehouses and petrol stations.
Real estate agents say that already prospective investors have started flowing in, with rents for new residential houses in Mikindani, Miritini, Mazeras and Miritini projected to rise.
According to Nzailu Nzeki, a real estate agent based at Mariakani, an acre along the highway is currently selling for over Sh15 million, up from less than Sh10 million three years ago.
“Prices started appreciating when the railway project kicked off and now with the expansion of the roads, we are talking of further appreciation,” he said.
One of the projects that has caught the attention of office and business space seekers in the area is Airport Centre mall, located in Changamwe just after the flyover.
The project is on a 2.5 acre piece of land and fronting the Magongo road about 1 kilometre from the Airport turnoff.
Airport Centre, a Sh700 million investment, is a two level building (ground and first floor) measuring approximately 16,000 square meters or 172,000 square feet, oaring at least 250 parking slots on the ground floor and basement. It will be completed by September this year, according to Imran Noorani, the developer.
“The mall’s ground floor is 90 percent occupied while the first floor is 40 per cent sold. This commercial and retail centre is going to be the first modern mall in Changamwe and will change the perception and outlook of commercial properties in the area,” he said in an interview.