Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Upper Hill - Nairobi County's New Commercial Capital

Just so you don't get my blog wrong... I am not a real estate broker. I am just a guy who likes nice landscapes and can't help notice when the skyline changes.

This is what is exactly happening to Upper Hill in Nairobi. Once upon a time the most notable things in the skyline was the tip of Rahimtulla towers stabbing the sky and the statue of Mary Help of Christians looking down on the City, the uniquely designed Victoria Towers and the square solid 8 storied Kenyatta National Referral Hospital.
beautiful Rahimtulla towers


Statue of Mary Help of Christians at Don Bosco
Left: Geomaps on Matumbato road a pioneer building in Upper Hill Right: Kenyatta National Hospital in the background and works on Mara road

Pencil Holder shaped Victoria towers in the foreground and KCB head office skeleton in the back
Now all that has changed the skeleton of KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank) new head office 22 storey towers on Ragati road in the face of it's competitor Equity Bank's head office and right behind them a new building by the World Bank. A few meters across from the three Britam (British American Insurance is putting up a new structure. Not to be outdone UAP provincial insurance is putting up their own building towering above Upper Hill high school which will hopefully be the last green "standing".
British American foundation being drilled on Ragati road
World Bank building in progress


KCB head office still towering
Equity Bank Centre right in the competition's face
With Elgon Road from Oxford all the way down being expanded and various construction works along it's length including a shopping mall, a potentially star hotel to rival Crowne Plaza's dominance Upper Hill is about to claim it's place as Nairobi's commercial capital. Mara road is also being redone separating two members sports clubs Nairobi Sports Club and Public Service Club.

Developments on Elgon Road Oxford in the background
Developments on Elgon Road the expansion is set to take another year


Developments on Elgon Road seen from Matumbato Road

Developments on Elgon Road Duplex in the background


Developments on Elgon Road Duplex in the background

Very soon it is bound to attract all the large food chain outlets and Supermarket Chains. Nairobi Java House has already got in early setting up shop at the Kenya Medical Association flats KMA flats.

Nairobi Java House in Upper Hill with Kenya Medical Association's flats at the back


Nairobi Java House in Upper Hill with KMA flats at the back

Shaping up - additions to Real insurance building on Ragati road
The leafy suburb of Matumbato has seen many houses turn into offices: Above Swivel Marketing

 Potential beneficiaries could include housing developments in Madaraka which is a railway crossing away though on the flip side house rents could go up.
Railway - stands between Upper Hill and Madaraka



Kanake Gardens one of the new developments that are on the rise in Upper Hill



Old Madaraka with the new

New Madaraka

Highrise apartments on Kiambere road and New Madaraka

National Housing Corporation's Madaraka Estate



old developments next to the railway upgrading to meet demand


Anyway as they say pictures say it better than a thousand words - so just don't do a word count because I hope I made it count for you with pictures of Nairobi's new commercial capital in the making.


Monday, 1 July 2013

Seefar Apartments Mbagathi Way - My Questions for your answers

If there was ever an industry in Nairobi to bank on then it would be real estate and housing.

Everyone is chasing the dream of "get a beautiful house and settle down".

Chasing dreams ain't bad. I am also now trying to get excited about good and normal things that everyone else is excited about. But anyway this article is not about me.

This article is about how much do you research the place you will get your "dream home" or at least your "dream rental".
Last year a small block of flats was completed just after Blue Sky estate on Mbagathi Way. It used to be a laugh for everyone who passed by because the ground floor of the flats kept caving in. But we aren't laughing anymore. The three story flats are complete and have tenants... and somehow I think the developer wants to proceed as he hasn't put a roof.


SEEFAR
The apartments in my title are much the opposite of the above flats - they are professionally built and have taken tremendous efforts to get to 12th floor - but I still have questions and unanswered issues.

SEEFAR APARTMENTS ADVERT

they are professionally built and have taken tremendous effort to get to 12th floor

I wish my friend Joab S. Kola aka Jobby had been elected as the representative for Nyayo Highrise then I would just send him to ask the questions for me. But he wasn't...

Highrise flats are three four storeys at best. Seefar has towered to twelve storeys currently

Seefar apartments stand in between H Block and the Dam

Seefar apartments are built at the end of H-Blocks of Nyayo Highrise. These H blocks are in a valley bordered by the Nairobi Dam on one side. Seefar just took the heat off us. They built right next to the dam. This was not a very easy task. Three landslides, two times a collapsed foundation, costly control of the  dam waters (wah!! si the mosquitoes had a ball when the dam was blocked - they really fed on us).

View to die for?
Foam from Nairobi Dam - our tourist attraction when it rains


Nyayo Highrise at Sunrise above and a rainy morning right


Same area when it rains - notice the white foam swelling above the fence

Beautiful Sunrise in Highrise
Anyway troubles aside Seefar has beaten odds and it has become the 12 story tower in our neighbourhood. The hardworking crew work day and night. You can see in the short video below.



So then what issues do I have with a construction of beautiful apartments like Seefar - which are really evidence of what man can do in overcoming obstacles and in the efforts of making a living.

ISSUE NO 1 - NEMA
The Erdemann Properties quote a number 00008382 as the NEMA number to show that the environmental watchdog evaluated and approved that the construction of a 12 storey highrise building a stone's throw from the dam and that it did not constitute an adverse impact to the environment.
I do not know what an EIA contains but in my layman's assessment - if you have woken up to the scenes in my pictures above and you know how Nairobi dam comes alive when it rains you would never advise anyone to build that close to the dam. Secondly NEMA or no NEMA I saw the crew struggle with two or was it three landslides. The land rebelled hurled gabbions twice down the embankment and covered the foundations twice before man mastered the land... or did he? Thirdly even if all the above are settled - any resident of these blocks should know they have just signed up to be part of mosquito menu.

ISSUE NO 2 - DAMAGES 
Highrise roads are now one eyesore pothole due to the heavy machinery that had the estate as the only access to the flats. I hope the owners have thought about doing repairs when the houses are complete.

ISSUE NO 3 - WATER
Highrise has an acute shortage of water - it has enough trouble getting to third floor. I hope SEEFAR truly have boreholes unstable or stable ground notwithstanding. I can't imagine someone in 12th floor lacking piped water.

If Erdemann can answer these few question then they can complete their housing unit with my full blessings and well wishes









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Loving life and living it. “Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” (Mary Anne Radmacher)
Give yourself completely in everything for that is love and only when we love can we find God.