Late last year, the government formed the Railway City Development Authority (RCDA) as a special service vehicle to lead the development and expansion of the Nairobi Central Business District.
The Sh28 billion Nairobi Railway City Project which will take 20 years to build will start this year. Newly formed Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) will also be at the forefront of the project.
NMS Director-General Mohammed Badi said that the formation of an implementation committee was underway for the RCDA is currently 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 implementation will spearhead the operationalisation of the Authority, develop framework for actualising the railway city, identify anchor projects and investors,” he added.
The iconic multi-modal urban development project, which is part of the Nairobi Integrated Urban Development Plan, first announced in 2010, will be implemented on a 425-acre piece of land stretching from Haile Selassie Avenue, Uhuru Highway, Bunyala Road, Commercial Street and Landhies Road.
The plan includes building of a new railway station that allows for the integration of Nairobi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and other public transport modes as well as other commercial developments including skyscrapers, residential flats, a cultural centre and a museum.
When this was first mooted, the PS for Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga termed it a game changer, saying it will transform the face of Nairobi.
However, social media critics have termed the proposal a ‘highly sanitized land grab’ where public land and funds will be moved to private hands.
Some of the recent and not so recent failure in projects makes it a hard case for the RCDA to sell, for example the stalled Konza Technocity, BRT etc.
Also, the demolitions carried out in Kariobangi, in the dead of the night, during the time of Covid-19 pandemic makes it hard for most people to buy into the idea of ‘an iconic nerve centre for the city’s multi-modal transport system with a world class new central station incorporating mixed use commercial developments, housing and inter-modal facilities’
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