A consortium of local businesses will construct apartments on the swathe of land upon which Nyarugenge Prison, best known as 1930, is located, officials have said.
Last year, authorities relocated some 3000 male inmates from the jail facility to a new correctional centre in Mageragera, a suburb on the outskirts of Nyarugenge District, and Kigali city officials say the relocation exercise will be completed in May when female inmates also relocate to Mageragere.
However, the present ‘1930’ structure will not be razed down, according to Eng. Fred Mugisha, Director of Urban Planning and Construction at the One Stop Centre in the City of Kigali.
He said CHIC, an association of local investors that will put up the proposed apartments, will instead be allowed to make use of the most of the remaining 5.5 hectares of the land in the facility’s precinct.
“The main prison structure won’t be demolished but will rather be preserved as a historic site,” Mugisha said, adding that the rest of the land will be developed according to the city master plan.
The prison facility, one of the oldest in the country – that sits on about 2 hectares of land –, will effectively be turned into a museum when the last inmate leaves in May.
This part of the Central Business District, he said, has strictly been set aside for apartments.
CHIC are the owners of CHIC Complex, a modern shopping mall and office block in downtown Kigali.
“The plan is to improve housing in town,” the Kigali City official said, adding that the planned apartments would come as a relief to many employees who work in and around the Central Business District.
“The investors are now working on the concept and they are expected to present to us their proposal in due course,” Mugisha said.
CIP Hillary Sengabo, the RCS Spokesperson, confirmed that a female jail facility is currently under construction in Mageragere and it’s expected to be completed in time for the relocation on the female inmates in May.
Olivier Mazimpaka, the chief executive of CHIC Complex, said they were yet to determine the number of households that the planned apartments will accommodate but added that they intend to put up one to three bedroom units.
He said a preliminary development study shows they could put up 126 one-bedroom units, 294 two-bedroom units, and 144 three-bedroom units.
“We hope to share our plan with the city authorities in a month’s time,” he said, adding that they were allowed to develop 5 hectares on the land.
He was non-committal when asked about the value of the project, saying it was yet to be determined.