New mall set to change how Kisumu shops

By SILAS APOLLO-NATION MEDIA GROUP

A Sh2.5billion shopping mall whose construction is near completion, will soon be part and parcel of the middle class lifestyle in Riat Hills, Kisumu.

Located conveniently at Mamboleo junction on the Kisumu-Kakamega highway, the mall which is being constructed by the Lake Basin Development Authority, is expected to be the largest of its kind in the region.

The 27,000 square metres building will be completed in August and will house a five-star hotel, a regional resource centre, more than 1,000 housing units as well as a complex consisting of three office blocks. This is besides serving as the headquarters of the Lake Basin Development in Kisumu.

According to the Lake Basin Commission chairman Onyango Oloo, the shopping centre is expected to revolutionise the shopping experience in the region.
“The architecture of the mall takes on a contemporary and futuristic form with a curving roof that bears resemblance to a sail — an apt metaphor for the lake city,” he said.

Situated about 3.5km from the central business district and about 3km from United Mall that houses Tuskys supermarket, the mall will help push up the property value in the Mamboleo area.

The interest in Riat has however failed to translate into improved an housing situation in Mamboleo which is predominantly considered as an ancestral home by most residents in the area.

FEW OPENING UP

At present areas such as Opepo, Guba, Wath Orego among others are ancestral homes with very few opening up for development of new housing units.

The area has however in the past few months been experiencing a smaller influx of property developers seeking to tap into the expanding market of young working class residents and visitors seeking houses outside the central business district.

Other estates dominated by the middle income earners include Polyview — currently one of the most preferred by young urban professionals — as well as estates as Tom Mboya, Migosi among others.

Standard houses in Mamboleo currently rent out at between Sh6,500-Sh8,000 for a bedsitter, one bedroom house Sh10,000-Sh15,000 while two bedroom houses rent at Sh15,000 and above.

The ongoing rehabilitation of the roads is expected to make it more easily accessible by residents. At present, work has already begun on the Kisumu-Kakamega highway and adjacent roads.

According to Lake Estate Agency Limited director Nishma Karia, the popularity of the area will increasebecause if offers serene surroundings and proximity to the now famous Riat hill.

Unlike other middle class estates that are slowly experiencing an influx of residents, Mamboleo is relatively more secure and tranquil.

“Actually, a majority of professionals in Kisumu now find the Mamboleo/ Kajulu hills a perfect destination of choice owing to encroachment of Milimani and Tom Mboya estates by offices, hotels and guest houses,” she said.

Lake Basin commission managing director Kabok Aguko says the shopping shall incorporate four state of the art escalators and two stunning panoramic lifts linking all levels making vertical movement an experience by itself.

The mall will boast of additional amenities such as over 300 car parking on two levels, 60,000 square feet anchor tenant space, a modern food court to host the big restaurant names in the country, and a children’s play area.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

“We have designed the building to international standards with carefully chosen materials, finishes and colours. The shop fronts feature frameless glass and the arcade incorporates an atrium that links all the five floors of the mall maximising the natural lighting and ventilation,” he says.

The upper two levels of the complex will host offices, institutions and a medical plaza.

“It is intended that the mall will introduce international retails chains to Kisumu. The Lake Basin Mall promises to be every shopper’s dream come true,” he says.

The mall will become the the fifth mall in Kisumu joining the likes of West End Mall, Nakumatt Mega Mall, Tuff Foam and United Mall. Uchumi supermarket, which opened its first retail shop in the town last year, has signed a deal with the Lake Basin Development Authority to be the anchor tenant.

Mr Oloo, Lake Basin chairman says Kisumu is viewed as a strategic location for investors in the East African Community, a factor that has been improved by the speedy expansion of roads in the region.

“Kisumu has been experiencing minimal growth due to lack of adequate infrastructure, but with the government and private investors filling this gap, the city may rival Nairobi in playing host to large businesses,” says Mr Oloo.

Some of the key developments include Kisumu Urban Project, an initiative of the French government which has dispensed a number of projects in the lakeside city including 21-metre high floodlights.

Others are the Lake Victoria Water Services Board’s Waste Water Treatment Plant commissioned at Kisat last week as well as a CBD drainage upgrading at Sh150 million.

The National Housing Corporation has already announced plans to construct houses in Mamboleo with a one bedroomed house going for Sh1.07million for one bed roomed, two bed roomed at Sh1.43million and three bed roomed at Sh1.83million.