By: ERIC WAINAINA
The coffee and maize farms in Thindigua, Kasarini, Kirigiti and Kugeria on the outskirts of Kiambu Town are fast giving way to modern residential homes, apartments and shopping malls.
Thanks to their proximity to Nairobi, many little centres on Kiambu Road have experienced a property boom in the past few years as investors rush to make a killing from the growing demand for both residential and commercial houses.
They include Thindigua, Kasarini, Mushroom, Kugeria and Njatha-ini.
The land in these areas, which was previously used to grow coffee and maize, has since been subdivided and sold to developers, who are putting up residential houses or rental and commercial flats.
Thindigua, for instance, is now dotted with modern residential houses, rental flats, and apartments for sale. In addition, there is a mall under construction in the area.
And signboards at the main bus stop at the main shopping centre announce upcoming and ready apartments either for sale or to let.
Thindigua is about 10 kilometres from the city centre and about three kilometres from Kiambu Town.
Mr John Mwaniki, the director of property firm Jeckmas Services, says Thindigua is benefiting from its strategic location between Nairobi and Kiambu, which makes it easily accessible to both. It takes a motorist less than 10 minutes to get to the city from Thindigua, and less than five minutes to get to Kiambu Town in light traffic.
TOWN IS CONGESTED
“Kiambu town is congested and most of the people working in Nairobi or in Kiambu Town require somewhere to live, so investors are taking advantage of the situation to build houses where plots are available,” Mr Mwaniki told media.
Ms Mercy Njoki, who lives in Thindigua and commutes to the city’s central business district every day apart from Sundays, agrees.
“I don’t regret moving to Thindigua. It is convenient as there is transport throughout and no traffic jams,” she told media.
Ms Njoki, who moved from Githurai during the construction of the Thika Superhighway, says she used to arrive at her business in the city centre much later than she does now.
She adds that the atmosphere in Thindigua is pleasant since it is not as congested as other peri-urban areas.
Kirigiti, previously a small town on the outskirts of Kiambu Town, is another area that has undergone a radical transformation. Previously considered no more than a village, it has changed status, thanks to the rapid development.
Investors have been putting up rental flats in the area in the recent past, making it one of the fastest growing areas around Kiambu Town. Located about a kilometre from Nairobi, Kirigiti now boats modern rental flats and residential houses.
Similar developments are being witnessed in Mushroom and Kugeria, where individuals who were eager to own homes have been putting up posh houses.
Kasarini Shopping Centre, which previously had only modest rental flats, has received a major facelift following the construction of several modern five-story flats.
Mr Christopher Ngamau, a property agent, says that with the congestion in Kiambu Town and its poor planning, most people prefer to live on its outskirts.
Mr Ngamau, who is also the vice-chairman of Kiambu Residents’ Welfare Association adds that grabbing has further reduced space for expansion, making Kiambu Town unsuitable for investment.
Kiambu is a dormitory town for Nairobi, which explains the massive expansion in the urban centres arount it.
Investors are also taking advantage of the increasing rental charges by using any available land to build houses.
That is how a less organised development is coming up in Mugumo, about a kilometre from Kirigiti on the Kiambu-Ruiru Road.
After buying 50×100 plots in the area from a women’s group, the investors quickly put up buildings on them, turning the previously bare land into a concrete jungle.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION