KCB goes upscale

Joining the exodus of banks leaving the Nairobi CBD will be KCB, who will shift their headquarters from Kencom House to a yet to be complete building in Upper Hill – aka the capital of vision 2030 . They join Victoria, CBA, NIC, the World Bank, and a dozen insurance companies with their own buildings in a great part of town, but with no room for road expansion.

15 thoughts on “KCB goes upscale

  1. Acolyte

    One thing I wonder is that yes Upper Hill is a nice area (last time I was around there) close to the city but on the other hand it is/was an old time residential area.
    Can the small roads and the infrastructure cope with the rapid growth and human traffic that is occurring there? Last time I noticed like you said, the roads didn’t seem expandable at all.

  2. Udi

    The infrastructure in Upper Hill does not allow for that kind of expansion. Trying to get to Rahimtulla Trust is already a nightmare with the British Embassy putting roadblocks and allowing only one car at a time. Plus,I read an article that said the sewage system was not built for such large offices that are being built there. I was hoping companies would start considering areas like Athi River, Ngong and outskirts in order to decongest the city. Some headquarters are not beneficial to the public since they dont provide services. Companies should therefore considering moving them.

    PS: Safaricom decided to do build their HQ on Waiyaki way. Not a bad idea. But then, they forgot to build parking. So people now park across the street at the Shell Gas Station. Is it me or planning in Kenya is an afterthought?

  3. Maishinski

    LoL… We are suffering from a severe case of ASSUMPTIONIATIS.

    – The architect / project manager for safcom assumed most customers will use matatus… or he parks his car at Shell – hence figured no need for parking. Perhaps project funds for parking were embezzled (no one would notice).

    – Upper hill is a time-bomb. First of all with risky embassies like the UK embassy who are terrorism targets. Next – a mediocre infrastructure. Further – close to Uhuru park (a Brewing pot for Chaos). Lastly – no expansion. Too close to CBD and affected by traffic snarlup. Only a company run by MORONS would dare relocate there.

    That’s why I don’t buy some shares.

    Still, I wonder why share prices at NSE don’t react to ridiculous management decisions.


  4. toiyoi

    You know what really needs to be done? Government departments/Offices should start relocationg to various cities-Mombasa, nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, etc. That can leave nairobi as a financial/Businnes hub. This will:
    (i)spreading opportunities all around
    (ii)De congest the city- some of those slums will go away
    (iii)Leave people feeling that the government is close to them
    (iv) Will force the growth of the other cities,a good thing

  5. Anonymous

    After working in New York, I can safely say that Nairobi is not so much congested, as poorly planned. There is plenty of room for growth if the City Council, in conjunction with the Local Govt ministry planned for the growth. Good mass transit, and road infrastructure is important for growth.

  6. inspectordanger

    I agree with toiyoi. Why would one have the Ministry for fisheries in Nairobi yet the bulk of fishing is done around Lake Victoria? Ministry of Agriculture should be located in Eldoret, isn’t Rift Valley the countries bread and basket? This is the devolution ODM was talking about. Bring service to the people and ease the strain of resource in the capital city.

  7. bankelele

    Acolyte: it offers banks, insurance companies some exclusivity. They are able to meet their clients and serve them better. If you drive to the CBD for a daytime meeting it’s almost impossible to get a parking unless your host has a reserved parking. Upper Hill is quite small; they are still demolishing old small railway houses to put up eight-storey offices

    Udi: Yes but companies are fed up with the CBD. Not just sewage, all the boreholes being dug up can make upper hill shaky if there are quakes. I think Athi River and ngong will open up when the roads are done, but they are a bit remote and without security, companies will move slower than residential developers. Did Safcom assume everyone has a chauffeur or takes a taxi?

    Maishinski: They can also park at Njuguna’s. As long as companies must remain in Nairobi, and have the cash, they are better off in upper hill, than CBD

    Toiyoi: good point, about companies basing themselves where their operations are. But it has to be an area close to where employees (and managers) can find housing/good schools/hospitals etc. big companies often have to build the social amenities themselves in Magadi, Kericho etc.

    Inspectordanger: some parsatstals are based where their operations are, but it will be a radical step for the government to base a ministry there. But it would be a good idea for the new Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands to be actually situated in northern Kenya

  8. Maishinski

    Regarding the issue of TZ Bank freezing their citizens from Safcom IPO:

    1. I want to thank them for giving me one reason to be glad that I am a Kenyan.

    2. I support them fully. The less retail subscribers – the more for me!

    3. Well done TZ. Kaeni hivyo mulivyo na muendelee vivyo hivyo.


  9. toiyoi

    Come on Banks,
    I am not asking private companies to relocate. I am advocating for public/government ministries to relocate their services to the various towns. Communication between the Ministries should be a non-issue (if it is, Ndemo should work on it ), after all we are in a “global village”, so coordinating work in Eldoret and Mombasa should be no different that doing the same between Harambee house and Sheria house.

    This is the surest way to “develop” the whole of the country. It does not matter that Nairobi is not as congested as New york. We are not new york and our experiences are different.

  10. Maishinski

    I don’t understand why ministry of fisheries is in Nairobi. Those things in Nairobi river are TADPOLES – not fish!

    At least if we had some government symbols in each area, those who want to burn and destroy things to illustrate their point would vent their wrath on the government buildings instead of their own schools, neighbors, employers and friends from different communities.

    I also propose a “Grievance Venting Zone” in each area where people who have grievances can meet, burn some tyres, smash car shells, erect boulders, scream, uproot dummy railways and trees, yell etc… With adequate punching bags for the violently inclined.

    News coverage would be guaranteed and effective due to safety for journalists – hence political statements can be made to the world effectively – without foolishly damaging the entire country.

    Provided the arnachists stay in the designated “venting area”, police should not touch them.

    Also good for university students, mungiki and even al-qaida suicide bombers (who get to exercise their right to blow themselves up – without harming others).

  11. Mashatall

    Wonder why Tanzanians do not like doing biz with us? coz we are the Nigerians of the west coast, and we are a man eat man society!As long as we can make a quick buck, then we dont care whether our neighbors can afford a meal or how our corrupt ways impact the society at large, thats why we have a few billionaires and thousands of Kenyans suffering. We all know Ujamma never worked in TZ, but at least they have the honour of resigning if caught in some shady deals, unlike our Kiraitu’s who go asking for more cabinet seats for their village mates.As for lack of foresight when it comes to urban planning? i really wonder what role the new metropolitan authority will play? then we have the mayor? then we have the local government? then we have………arrrrghhhh. its really depressing being a Kenyan sometimes.

  12. Anonymous

    @Toiyo – i think the idea of ministeries being located in specific locations sounds good in theory but is not practical – ministreis are about policy they can have departmental offices that actually do the work in the specific regions. for example fisheries would have an offices in areas where there are actually fisheries (though it beats me why we have a ministry of wildlife separate from fisheries separate fron enivorment and natural resources )

  13. Maishinski

    Mashatall, capitalism is cold – but it proportionalely rewards hard work and common sense.

    If someone is lazy and dependent on handouts then they will definitely suffer under capitalism.

    On the other hand communism promotes laziness and parasitism. Communists dont understand that businesses need to make a profit! They see everything involving profit as wrong.

    Development wise Tanzania is many years behind when compared to Kenya due to embracing communism. Look at russia – formerly a super power, now conidered a poor country – bacause of communism.

    Wise men once said:

    “You can take a cow to the water (safaricom open to TZ) but you can’t force it to drink.”

  14. tengeza

    Once the infrastructure is fixed Upperhill is not really a bad place to be. Every new development in Upperhill has to cede some land for road improvement.

    By the way banks, Upperhill has one of the hardest rock in Kenya. It is a lava outflow from Ngong hills and boreholes will not affect it at all…if fact if you notice most buildings in Upperhill have no underground parking because of the rock. To build anything on it, one has to blast it and the British High Commision has put a stop to that…also to sinking boreholes!

    Like everything else in Kenya I think the infrastructure will be built by NCC when most of Upperhill is developed and congested with new office buildings.

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