Massive developments fuel Meru’s growth23rd Nov, 2016
Just ten years ago, Meru Town was characterised by shacks serving as shops, nondescript stone buildings that acted as offices, and dusty streets.
In the 1990s, there were only five banks and five supermarkets, says James Ntongai, who owns a residential plot at the 24-hour Makutano area. Today, there are more than 20 banks in the town, with the Central Bank of Kenya’s Currency Centre just below the Co-operative Bank.
“There was no insurance company with an office in Meru Town in the 1980s. Today, they are nearing 20,” says North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood, who has several buildings in the CBD and Makutano area. Dawood previously owned the land on which Nakumatt Supermarket is built but sold it to another businessman.
The Pig and Whistle Hotel, one of the oldest and most noticeable complexes in Meru Town, was recently demolished to give way for a magnificent and expansive mall, office park and residential apartments called the Meru Greenwood Park, which will radically transform the face of the town.
The total cost of Meru Greenwood Park is Sh3.7 billion, according to Fusion Capital’s CEO Luke Kinoti.
Construction is well underway, on six acres, with much of the space already booked. it will comprise shops, offices, apartments, health club, restaurant, exhibition spaces, children arcade and a supermarket.
Fusion Capital is an international equity firm and Kinoti, who hails from the county, says they have taken advantage of the opportunities coming up in the county as more companies and people come into county.
“There are many investors coming to the county. Some of them need houses for the professionals coming to work here. The houses will be rented to investors,” said Kinoti.
Meru Town’s commendable growth is attributed to its location as it is a gateway to North Eastern Kenya.
Until around 2005, you could walk in the middle of the road after 10pm because there were no vehicles. Today, Meru is choking with morning and evening gridlocks typical of major towns like Nairobi.
“The national government is currently working on several bypasses to ease traffic congestion in the town. Land owners have been compensated to the tune of sh700 million and the new roads are under construction,” said Dawood.
The Meru CBD used to be occupied by the Nubian community but they have since been relocated to Mjini area on the town’s fringes, where they have jelled and intermarried with the Meru community.
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