Nairobi County plans to spend Sh40 billion to build 14,000 residential units in the first phase of a project that will see its old houses pulled down.
Most of the houses are in the Eastlands area and, according to County Executive Committee member for Planning and Housing Tom Odongo, the project will see over 100,000 housing units built to accommodate for 650,000 people.
These tenants currently occupy the old 17,000 housing units built by the defunct City Council of Nairobi.
In the first phase of the project, dubbed “The Eastlands Urban Renewal project”, new housing units will be built in the open spaces in the estates of new and old Ngara, Pangani, Jevanjee Bachelors, Uhuru and Woodley.
Mr Odongo said the tenants would not be evicted from the old houses.
“The project will not disrupt livelihoods of the people by displacing them as construction will begin on open spaces before any demolitions,” he said.
The tenants, who pay rent to City Hall, will continue making the payments once they occupy the new houses.
But other houses will be mortgaged at a lower cost than the current market rates.
Mr Odongo, however, admitted that there were no funds for the project but said the money should be available by April.
But sources said City Hall had already sealed a deal with two Chinese firms that are financing the project, a development Mr Odongo declined to confirm.
HOLD INVESTORS' CONFERENCE
“We intend to hold an investors’ conference first where we will invite all interested parties,” he said.
He did not say when the conference will take place.
“We are providing land equity and we will be seeking development capital with private parties as well as end use financing from a bank to offer mortgages,” he said.
A similar project had been started by former Housing Minister, Soita Shitanda but it never took off.
In the Eastlands area, City County has only 9,557 units on 2,000 acres of prime land.
And some of these houses in estates like Kaloleni, Shauri Moyo, Makongeni, Ziwani estates and Pangani were built more than 60 years ago.
People living in these houses have always resisted a move to relocate, but Mr Odongo said once the project is complete the old tenants will be given the first priority to purchase the new units.
The whole planning of the project, the County Executive explained will depend on the socio economic status of the residents.
There are other houses that the former City Council of Nairobi had built but sold to individuals.
They include Uhuru, Huruma and Jamhuri estates, which Mr Odongo said are not part of the program.