The Egerton University Retirement Benefits Scheme is building a Sh1.6 billion shopping mall in Nakuru town to meet growing demand for quality commercial space.
Construction of the Golden Life Mall is scheduled to be completed within two years, according to Egerton University Vice Chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya.
Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who presided over ground breaking at the site on Monday, said it is a significant development as Nakuru seeks to acquire city status.
“We will market the mall as part of the landmark buildings in the town. It will also attract diverse investors, including those passing through,” he said.
Mr Kinyanjui said the devolved unit is banking on Golden Life and another Sh1 billion mall belonging to Kenya Women Holding that was launched a week ago to tap a broader market and traffic through the town.
Egerton scheme's development will be located along the busy Nakuru highway that has approximately 1,000 vehicles passing daily.
The county boss also challenged pension schemes in the devolved unit to invest more in housing citing demand for affordable homes that could provide much needed revenue streams for the funds.
Prof Mwonya said the shopping mall is a landmark building that will improve income flow for the university's scheme.
“It will provide ample parking and office space that will decongest town,” she said.
Cabinet last year approved the elevation of two more towns to cities, which would bring the total tally of Kenyan cities to five.
While it was not specified which towns will be targeted by the move, it is thought that Nakuru and Eldoret are most likely to benefit from the proposal.
The Nakuru County Government is banking on fast-tracking infrastructure projects such as a proposed international airport, an idea that first mooted in 2004, and other large-scale commercial developments to help pave the way to achieving city status.