BY GERALD GEKARA – A drive down Nairobi’s newest Central Business District seems like a walk into the life of the high and mighty SUITS. Almost everyone walking (if not tucked inside their comfy fuel guzzlers) is in a suit. Upon further inquiry to where I am going, Welcome to Upper Hill.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, the unavailable and highly-priced office space within Nairobi CBD prompted Kenya Railways to sell its 700 acres of land to corporations looking to get a foothold in the Kenyan Capital.
Fast forward to 2019, the Upper Hill is now host to better link roads, prime office spaces, five-star hotels, and the most common sight, sky scrappers.
Skyscrapers and Prime Office Space
Currently, Upperhill skyline is towered by the likes of Britam Tower, the head office of the Britam Insurance company, UAP Tower, headquarters to UAP OldMutual holdings, KCB Plaza headquarters of Kenya Commercial Bank, Prism tower, a high end office tower and Rahimtulla tower.
Last year, Britam tower received the prestigious Emporis Skyscraper Award, the first building in Africa to appear on the list since its inception 19 years ago.
The availability of high end offices located near the CBD has driven many corporations to establish their offices in Upper hill.
Currently, there are 4 Embassies, several parastatal offices and top global companies who have their headquarters in UpperHill business district.
PROTIP – An Acre of land goes for about Ksh 850,000,000 or.. to make it easy for you, just a paltry 0.85 Billion Kenyan Shillings.. PALTRY.
If One would search into the Google maps for any financial institutions, you would easily term Upper Hill as the Nairobi’s Wall Street. All major, local and international banks have their foothold in Upper Hill, with the likes of Equity and KCB having their entire headquarters located there.
Microfinance and Insurance companies such as Britam, Mwalimu sacco, Kenya RE-insurance, CIC, UAP Old Mutual, and Geminia Insurance have their regional bases located in Upper Hill.
Improved Road Network
Nearly All link roads located in Upper Hill are tarmacked. Since the declaration of the area as part of Nairobi Business District, the Kenya Urban Roads Authority has worked to fast track development of better road works and dualling of the Upper Hill roads.
In 2018, KURA completed the dualling of the Lower Hill road, a crucial link from Ngong Road that directs traffic from the busy Uhuru Highway therefore easing traffic flow. Currently, road works on Elgon road are nearing 60% percent completion.
Availability of Hotel and Luxury amenities
World-class hotels like The Radisson, Hillpark Hotel and Crown Plaza provide ideal meeting space for companies. The Railway Club, Nairobi Club and the Public Service Club, provide ideal sports and fitness solutions for visitors and Upper Hill workers.
Plans are underway for more hotel space within the upper hill region with plans already under way for Hilton hotel and The Montave ‘mall’ coming up along Lower hill road.
Schools and Health facilities
Upperhill is host to many hospital facilities including Kenya’s largest referral hospital, Kenyatta Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, Aga Khan Hospital, Mediheal hospital, and German Medical Center.
In terms of school amenities, Upper Hill Secondary School, Upper Hill primary school, Madaraka Primary school and the Sign Language Resource Center.
Upon further scouting, there is no shopping center or retail store within upper hill area. The nearest supermarket is located towards along the Uhuru Highway, and no one wants to go down a hill and come back up only to get a pack of pencils.
This has paved way for the rise in service industries such as deliveries, digital taxis, a niche that is probably being implemented to the brim, in Upper Hill.
Perhaps the single most annoying thing in Upperhill is the disheartening traffic menace experienced during peak hours. To many whose businesses cash in on time, it may be a pain in the neck to have to operate from Upper Hill during the rush hour.