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Sh85bn facelift to create jobs for Eastlands

Thousands of jobs will be created as a Sh85-billion project to transform Eastlands into a thriving business hub takes shape.

Residents of the old County estates such as Maringo and Hamza will be moved to ultra-modern highrise houses to create room for the construction of offices, hospitals, churches, schools, colleges, universities and mosques under the Chinese funded project.

County Hall has set aside 500 acres in Maringo and Hamza for the project, Nairobi Public Works and Transport Executive member Evans Ondieki said.

The department has drawn a preliminary plan which awaits viewing by  residents.

After opinions are aired on the plan, the department will develop an artistic impression of the entire project, which will again be subjected to public debate.

“We don’t want to ambush people with undertakings that can disrupt their lives,” said Mr Ondieki.

“We want to give room for public participation to avoid situations where residents put up resistance for fear of losing their houses or sources of livelihood.”

In the initial stage, he explained that 17,000 houses would be put up on the open spaces in the two estates to accommodate those who will be moved out of the current houses.

“The new houses will then be allocated to those living in the old and dilapidated houses which will then be demolished to give way for construction of others under a new plan, with a capacity to house many more people,” he explained.

The project will also reduce congestion in the Central Business District (CBD) by finding alternative office premises and shopping malls. It is also expected to open up employment opportunities to thousands of jobless residents.

“We want to change the trend of coming to CBD for everything including shopping for household items.

If more offices and shopping malls shift to the new centre, movement of people to the city centre will reduce and the city centre  will be decongested,” explained the lawyer.

Mr. Ondieki said the new business hub is projected to overtake Westlands  which is now home to headquarters of many multi-national companies and upscale shopping malls.