MOMBASA’S ‘ENGLISH POINT’ UNDERGOES TRANSFORMATION TO MARINA ESTATE
(Posted 03rd July 2013)
Flavio Briatore’s plans to build a Billionaires Resort in Malindi, reported about repeatedly in the past, has clearly opened the doors for similarly ambitious top of the range real estate developments along the Kenya coast.
With Kenya’s economy set for a major boom decade ahead, as a result of significant oil finds and huge infrastructure development projects like new railways, highways, a pipeline from the newly found oilfields as well as from South Sudan and a new deep sea harbour in Lamu (LAPSSET), there is clear optimism that top end real estate developments, like gated estates, golf estates and ocean front condominiums will attract substantial returns on the investments of the developers.
Those foresighted enough, like Mombasa’s Alnoor Kanji, started their project as pioneers and in his case at a prime location, perhaps the very best of them all, located right opposite Mombasa’s old town and the famous Fort Jesus on English Point.
It is there that Kanji is developing an international standard marina, where yachts from rich locals can moor side by side with yachts sailing along the East Coast of Africa or to and from the Indian Ocean islands, especially now that the ocean terrorists from Somalia have by and large been defeated.
Due to open phase one in late 2013, the first of its kind ocean frontage real estate development in Kenya will eventually see a fully fledged mini resort featuring owner occupied condominiums, 50 apartments have already been sold costing from 450.000 US Dollars to 750.000 US Dollars, with penthouses going for as much as 2 million US Dollars, condominiums the owners will rent out to short and longer term tenants and serviced apartments available for as short a stay as a night. A hotel, restaurants, shops and boutiques, a world class Spa and gym, a water sports centre and other facilities will be available for residents, guests and – it is understood against a daily membership fee – even outside patrons, with management however reserving the right of admission.
Overall will the project cost a cool 55 million US Dollars, two thirds of which have been funded by one of Kenya’s own banking giants, the Kenya Commercial Bank.
The tourism industry at the coast has warmly welcomed the new project, with some saying it brings at last the glitz and glamour of water front developments to Kenya’s coast, pointing to the string of such properties along the Pacific Coast or along the Florida coast line in the United States, across the Mediterranean and especially along the Gulf coast. Short and longer cruises on yachts, under sail or engine, will surely enter the list of options for tourists when visiting the beaches north and south of Mombasa, with a new exciting attraction waiting for them, reminiscent of sailing trips across the Caribbean or in the Gulf of Mexico.
(Artists impression of the English Point Marina and resort complex in Mombasa)
Tourism is high on the agenda of the new Kenyan government, which has promised jobs and economic growth in double digit figures during their five year term of office and new developments like English Point will no doubt inject new hope and impetus into a sector which has for long rested on its laurels, as far as beach resorts are concerned. ‘Briatore and Kanji will probably kickstart a number of similar developments along the Kenya coast. There is enough space from the border with Tanzania and the Pemba Channel to Lamu. Once the success of the first two can be seen, no doubt will other developers and banks come in to drive a boom of sorts. We expect many many expatriates working in the oil industry when production starts. The pipeline will need building and maintaining, there will be thousands of new jobs in the new port and when expatriates see and experience our weather and our friendly people, they will want to plan ahead for their own retirement and buy real estate, condominiums and residences in gated estates. Already we have the Vipingo Golf Estate in Kilifi and it has made an instant impact. Owners come from Kenya, the region and even overseas. There they can combine golf and beach and new marinas will add yachting as a new attraction. Kenya has such a great opportunity now that we had peaceful elections and it is good for the country, good for tourism’ commented a regular source from Mombasa. The Mombasa County Government has set aside significant funds to support tourism with new infrastructure and other support measures, making it clear that the sector has been targeted for rapid growth with special emphasis of absorbing job seeking youths into gainful employment.
A similar development has in fact taken root on the Seychelles’ main island of Mahe, where South African interests have put up Eden Island, artificially raised out of the ocean after stringent EIA requirements were met by the developers. The owners of Eden Island’s condominiums, residences and villas all are guaranteed a mooring for their yachts, and every phase, when opened, was literally sold out already, having added a new scope even for visitors to the archipelago used to luxurious surroundings. Mauritius too is now looking at a similar development and it will only be a matter of time before entrepreneurs will copy cat the idea in Mozambique too, offering a string of options where to berth, or even buy property.
Watch this space to learn about the final weeks prior to opening of the new English Point Marina and the date when the tape on the gate will be formally cut, very likely by President Kenyatta, who is expected to continue his late father’s trend to visit the coast over the Christmas and New Year Holidays.