Commerce

Construction of Sh28b rail city to begin in July

Friday, May 20th, 2022 06:40 | By

A plan to build the iconic Nairobi Railways City, under yet another Public-Private Partnership (PPP) is ready with the first phase set to commence in July after UK firm Atkins Global submitted the final design to the government yesterday.

The budget of the first phase of the multimodal urban development project is estimated at about £200 million (Sh28.74 billion) in a fully-funded PPP agreement with the United Kingdom through collaboration with the Railway City Development Authority, Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

“There is the first phase discussion which is mainly to come up with the interconnectivity between the current railway station and outlying facilities.

We are in the process of finalising the MoU and around July we will be hitting the ground,” said Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary State Department for Transport.

As part of the inter-connectivity plan, Public Service Vehicles (PSV) operators around Kenya Railways headquarters plying Ngong’, Lang’ata, Argwings Kodhek, and Landhies-Muthurwa routes, will be transferred to NSM-management Greenpark which is set to commence in phases from May 24.

Engine for growth The government considers the project an engine for growth in preparation for the bulging Nairobi population which hit 4.4 million per the 2019 census.

The project comprises social amenities infrastructures, interlinking roads through Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System, and houses.

“We want projects which can return their own investments because our loan ceiling shrinking day by day. There are other projects such as health, water and security we cannot commercialise,” Njoroge noted.

The project is expected to regenerate Nairobi’s Central Business District and was initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who personally requested UK support when he met Prime Minister Boris Johnson in January 2020.

When President Kenyatta met Johnson for bilateral talks last year, it was also among the deals the two countries pledged to support in a bid to step up cooperation in key economic and infrastructural projects.

There is no concrete clarity on how the investor is going to recoup their money back and when it will be fully owned by the State.

Njoroge, however, hinted that the social houses will be one of the revenue streams for the financier, signalling that the amenities will be rented for an unknown duration.

Speaking during the handover event at a Nairobi hotel, UK Prime Minister’s G7 and G20 Sherpa Jonathan Black said: “Great cities have always been engines of growth and innovation, and today’s big challenge is how they can also become cleaner, greener and smarter so they are great places for people to live and work in. This is a challenge across the world, from Nairobi to London.”

Congested roads Sitting on 425 acres of land, the Railway City covers the areas between Haile Selassie Avenue, Uhuru Highway, Bunyala Road, and Landies Road, surrounded by four strategic PSV terminuses, including Green Park.

To compliment Greenpark's progress in decongesting the CBD, KRC is banking on building 10 new railway stations within the city and the environs to pull more commuters out of the congested roads.

Hundreds of businesses and landlords sitting within the KRC land are now staring at a possible loss of their source of livelihood as they face eviction at no compensation to pave way for the construction of the central square city.

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