Airgate Center demolished in early morning operation – PHOTOS
The demolition of Taj Mall, which was renamed Airgate Centre, began early on Saturday morning amid government efforts to reclaim restricted land.
The mall is owned by Mr Rameshchandra Govino Gorasia, who had been given 14 days to tear it down.
During the exercise that began at about 6.30 am, police stood guard and blocked the public from the shopping complex.
Early this month, Mr Gorasia dared the government to demolish the building, which is estimated to be worth Sh5.5 billion, as he asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene. This is after he was asked to voluntarily demolish the building.
On Saturday morning, members of the public tried to carry materials away from the site but were blocked by the many officers manning the site, who lobbed teargas canisters to disperse them.
The operation is being overseen by the Nairobi Regeneration Committee but neither government officials, including committee chair Moses Nyakiongora, nor the mall’s owners were on site.
The exercise will likely take long as only one machine from the National Youth Service is being used.The government said the owners of the structures that will be pulled down will bear the costs.
The mall is one of several structures that have been destroyed as the government seeks to reclaim road reserves and riparian land.
The government said the owners of the structures that will be pulled down will bear the costs.
Report by: Walter Menya, Nyaboga Kiage and Anthony Omuya