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Imara Gardens takes up–market quality to Mombasa Road

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 00:00 -- BY JAMES WAITHAKA

One of the key results of infrastructural upgrade along the busy Nairobi-Mombasa highway is rapid real estate development in adjacent land. Indeed, realtors say land values have appreciated two-folds in just the past two years. The high land prices are fuelled by pent up demand for space, both commercial and residential, with new space being absorbed almost instantly.

A number of corporate companies have relocated to new office blocks sprouting on Mombasa Road, which is pushing up demand for residential houses. Although residential areas along the highway are middle income, new demand is looking for up-market quality in housing – which is lacking by far as many developers meet the built environment requirements. In fact, a number of buildings in Embakasi have been noted lacking structural integrity.

However, seeing an opportunity, one developer has moved in to satiate this demand for high-end quality housing. The developer of Imara Gardens, a few meters off Mombasa Road, says his aim is to offer clients standards they can only find in up-market estates like Lavington and Kileleshwa. The development comprises 196 apartments of two and three bedrooms being put up on a four-acre piece of land at Imara Daima. Mr Abdullahi Dahir, the director of Imara Gardens, says there will be roughly 50 units per acre of three-storeyed blocks with eight apartments per block with enough ample parking.

Each of the units come with an ensuite DSQ at no extra cost. The introductory prices have been pegged at Sh5.8 million and Sh6.8 million for the two and three bedroom apartments respectively. The price offer is however expected to last till September when it will be revised. “Our key strong point is structural integrity and high quality finishes. We are involved in the whole process including procurement of building materials to construction itself so as to ensure we give quality to buyers,” says Mr Abdullahi. “We challenge buyers to come with their independent architects, engineers and quantity surveyors to verify this.”

He says the major challenge in the housing sector is developers cutting corners and compromising quality to save on costs, a trend that is putting off buyers and pushing some to self-build options. “Buyers want quality both in structures and finishing and are willing to pay more for this. However, they’re usually limited by lack of choice. “So, Imara Gardens is bringing up-market quality to Imara     Daima at affordable prices. We want to be an alternative to Kileleshwa or Lavington at half the price,” says Mr Abdullahi, adding that they are passing the benefits of land cost to the buyer which is lower here compared to prices in up-market areas.

The development is set on a prime location next to the highway, with proximity to the JKIA, office parks, major retail chains and Taj Mall where Uchumi will have an outlet. It is also next door to the reputable Riara Springs School. A five-star hotel is also coming up at nearby Hwang Sung. Shared amenities will include a borehole and raised water tanks, an electric perimeter fence, security services and garbage collection services – all of which will be handled by a management company for the estate.

Planned areas also include playgrounds between every other block and designated green areas for gardening. The sample house, a three-bedroom apartment with DSQ, is ready for viewing. The development began almost five months ago and already five blocks of 40 apartments will be ready in a few more months. The whole project is expected to be complete by 2013.