Nairobi’s top estates opened to commercial developers

City Hall in Nairobi. width=
City Hall will allow developers to build office blocks in top estates. PHOTO/FILE
The City Council of Nairobi (CCN) is reviewing its building by-laws to allow developers to build office blocks in high-end estates located to the west of the city.

The amendments which are being done under a new land use policy that seeks to encourage people to work closer to their homes is part of CCN’s review of existing by-laws that have demarcated seven new zones for commercial use to ease congestion in the city centre

According to Tom Odongo, the director of planning at City Hall, the new regulations will open up all the high-end estates west of Nairobi – except Muthaiga and Runda – to commercial property developers.

“We want a model that embraces a mixed land use to decentralize activity from the CBD (central business district),” Mr Odongo said.

The planning director said estates that fall within Zones 3, 4 and 5 are being demarcated into 27 new zones to reflect new land use policy that allows construction of commercial centres, high rise apartments and single dwellings.

“The review of building restrictions is also informed by the soaring land prices in the city, which necessitates a case for review of land use to unlock the actual values while making it useful to more people,” he said.

The changes largely affect Lavington, Dagoretti Corner, Riara Road as well as all upper estates on either side of Waiyaki Way after Westlands.

The new regulations have also given Westlands business district a status equal to that of down town Nairobi – in effort to open up neighbouring residential estates to commercial property builders.

Although developers and planners have welcomed the proposed land use policy, it is highly expected that residents of affected estates will resist any attempts to construct office blocks in their neighbourhoods.

Already, home owners in Spring Valley and Riverside Drive have moved to court to contest CCN’ s decision to approve highrise apartments in their estates.