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Property developers, architects, doctors, ICT companies, shipping lines, construction companies and hardware dealers have already established bases in Nyali.
A construction boom is taking place in Mombasa’s Nyali area as the Nyali Bridge traffic jam discourages people from driving down town. Land is also shrinking in the island leaving no space to put up office blocks.

As a result, Nyali is now being seen by investors as the next investment frontier as office blocks come up, which has seen the value of land there double in the past three years.

Property developers, architects, doctors, ICT companies, shipping lines, construction companies and hardware dealers have already established bases in Nyali.

The hitherto quiet part of Mombasa has thus been replaced by the hustle and bustle of a growing town with construction work going on 24 hours a day. The result? Mombasa is now expanding further afield to Vipingo, about 20 kilometres away on Malindi Road.

However, concerns are emerging on whether Nyali, previously owned and planned for high-end residential houses has adequate amenities to support this transformation.

It means that Nyali will have to have modern facilities such as fibre optic connectivity and bio-digestive systems to manage waste. Well designed car parks as well.

Already shopping malls are accommodating supermarkets while recreational grounds, such as the Nyali Golf Club and the Wild Waters Entertainment Park, are easing off pressure from the down town.

It would also appear that market dynamics are working in favour of Nyali. The area is home to a sizable middle class, which according to developers, already provides sufficient demand for such developments.

In May the Housing Finance Corporation of Kenya launched its first commercial property venture in Mombasa and is financing a Sh180 million office space complex in Nyali.

HFCK managing director, Mr Frank Ireri, says the construction of the six-storey block Links Plaza in Nyali is aimed at reducing pressure on Mombasa Island and providing office space outside the town for convenience.

“Due to population growth, Mombasa has become crowded and there is need to move out of town so that services are not stretched further. This is happening in Nairobi where offices are moving out of the central business district.”

The bank will finance 70 per cent of the cost of the project and the developers are introducing a unique concept in which businesses will obtain mortgages to enable them to own offices rather than relying on renting, says the bank’s director of property supply Moses Wekesa.

“We will provide finance for premise ownership running up to 12 years and business owners will have the advantage of subletting any space they do not need,” says Wekesa. The building will be ready for occupation by the end of next year.

The project architect, Titus Kipsang of Symbion International says the building will have a backup-generator, fibre optic connectivity, solar powered common lighting system, 24-hour CCTV surveillance, secure parking and splendid ocean views.

However, one of the major challenges facing this development is lack of supportive amenities such as water and sewerage systems since the initial plan for the area didn’t put into consideration such huge developments.

Some plot owners in Nyali have also protested that they are being deprived of their privacy and have gone to court to block construction.
According to Mombasa Town Clerk Tubman Otieno, Nyali residents should live with the realities of Mombasa’s expansion.

“We must accept that Mombasa town has grown over the years but there has been no Municipal resolution to control development of houses,” says Tubman adding that the municipality was developing a master plan.

According to Tubman, the municipality will benefit from a $15 million (Sh1.2 billion) fund from the World Bank to upgrade the sewerage system covering a 17-kilometre radius that will include Nyali it plans to “concessionise” roads and improve waste management system by partnering with the private sector.

“We are even mulling over floating an infrastructure bond of between five to ten billion shillings to finance various projects the council is undertaking,” says Tubman.

In regard to water, the Coast Water Services Board (CWSB) says it will present a sewerage investment plan to the Water ministry mid next year, for approval after which it will seek funding to develop a sewerage system.

“Once the plan is complete we hope to pump in about $3 million (Sh240 million) in the project’s initial stages,” says CWSB chief executive officer Maro Tola.
But according to some qur developers should also take the initiative of coming up with measures to provide fresh water as a matter of urgency rather than wait for these projects that might take long thus delaying developments.

“Rain water can provide up to 40 per cent of the water needs of an office block and developers should put in place infrastructure to harvest it. Other measures such as de-salination of sea water can also address this problem,” says a developer.