A Sh28 billion project under a newly formed agency, the Railway City Development Authority (RCDA) is set to expand the Nairobi Central Business District.
The first phase of the 20-year project that is set to begin this year in what the govt says will be a game-changer.
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohammed Badi said that the Authority was established in May and formation of an implementation committee was underway.
This follows a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta in March for NMS to work closely with relevant institutions to establish the Authority and identify anchor projects and investors for the project.
“A gazette notice establishing the Railway City Development Authority was published on 13th May 2020 as Legal Notice No. 88 of 2020,” said Major General Badi.
The plan ‘Urban Plans, Urban Designs, Economic and Implementation Study for Redevelopment of the Nairobi Central Railway Station and its Surroundings’, seeks to re-engineer 430 acres piece of land from Uhuru Highway all the way to Muthurwa into a city complete with skyscraper buildings, residential flats, a cultural centre and a museum.
“The new central station ensures seamless connection among commuter rail, 3BRTs, airport limousine, city bus, and non-motorised transport like bicycle,” reads the master plan.
According to the plan, railway infrastructure will gobble a huge chunk of the project at Sh17.5 billion, followed by water supply and construction of roads and pavements that will take Sh3.9 billion and Sh2 billion respectively.
The gazettement in effect prohibits any other development in the area bound by Haile Selassie Avenue, Uhuru Highway, Bunyala Road, Commercial Street and Landhies Road, to pave way for the Railway City project.
The project is divided into three components with the first component entailing the construction of facilities for meetings, incentive conferences and exhibitions which will be located along Bunyala Road.
The next will be an economic zone comprising hi-tech industries and small and medium enterprises. It is projected to create over 200,000 new jobs.
The final component, the East core, will comprise a residential complex – including a school, park and affordable housing units – to accommodate approximately 28,000 residents and it will be built in Landi Mawe and Industrial Area.
However, social media critics have termed the proposal a ‘highly sanitized land grab’ where public land and funds will be moved to private hands.
Others say attempting to put up such a development with the country’s long record of mismanaging key infrastructure schemes is an epic folly.
“Like the badly prepared Konza City Project, the proposed Nairobi Railway City is destined for the dustbin,” a critic said on Facebook.