Government authorities have quickened their eyes on Taj Mall, now Airgate Centre, in a bid to bring down the multibillion dollar building which is said to be partly sitting on a road resesrve. The National Land Commission (NLC) has asked the owner, Rameshchandra Gorasia, to surrender the title deed for the parcel of land in question for regularisation.
NLC said the mall was built on land amalgamated from two separate plots initially two separate plots- LR No. 7075/13/1 which is a reserve for Outer-Ring Road and LR 7075/24 which is private property, thus making the title defective.
The statement from NLC suggests that M. Gorasia may have acquired publicly held land in addition to a privately held parcel which were merged to form the amalgamated title. NLC says Mr Gorasia will retain ownership of part of the plot which is private, while the parcel that is on a road reserve will be surrendered to the State after the exercise.
“The (amalgamated) title 209/13938 should be surrendered to the commission for regularisation and excision of 7075/13/1 which is vested in the national government for road expansion,” NLC said in a statement.
According to NLC, historical records show that the government acquired the land in question (LR 7075/13/1) in 1960 for construction of Outer Ring Road and was gazetted as such on April 30, 1971.
“It is, therefore, the commission’s position that the property was compulsorily acquired for road expansion and it is thus a public utility and that any title held is revoked,” NLC said.
Nearly eight years since its opening in 2011, part of the multibillion shilling development is set to be demolished after a long period of controversy regarding its location and ownership title. Business Daily established that the owners of the six-floor building, were served with a 14-day notice to bring down the property, which elapsed on Thursday last week.
Nairobi Regeneration committee head of operations Julius Wanjau told Nairobi news that the demolition of Airgate Center, formerly Taj Mall, will begin in the course of this week since the notice had expired on Thursday last week.
He said that the delay, ‘has been occasioned by the task force concentrating on the completion of other buildings already started including South End Mall.’