How will current urban planning regulations be applied in the Eko Atlantic project? FRAME: In the Eko Atlantic project, we want conformity in the planning process and we want input as to what the cityscape will look like. Entire sections of the city will be zoned specially for high-rises to deliver first-class offices and residential and commercial facilities. Our planning regulations also call for a financial district to be erected.
Further, we are offering an interim service by which we process the approval for developers whose projects comply with our requirements. Developers will benefit from streamlined planning procedures, in light of our cooperation with the Lagos State Government. One of the many planning regulations we are incorporating into this city will be no street parking. Developers must provide sufficient parking spaces within their projects to allow for tenants plus visitors, in accordance with standards set by the Lagos State Government. You can have a tower as high as you like, but it must provide enough parking space.
Lastly, the road network we have designed for the project provides for the most efficient traffic flow and incorporates plans for a light rail network. Also included into the urban planning is a 6.5km boardwalk, 40 metres wide, which is dedicated to open public spaces for people to walk and take in the views. This design provides for a truly 21st-century-standard city.
What are some of the main drivers of prices in the Lagos Real Estate Market? FRAME: Financial capitals worldwide have been privy to high real estate prices relative to other parts of their respective countries, and Lagos is no exception in this matter. Victoria Island, Lagos Island, and Ikoyi are just that: the long-standing premium real estate and financial centres in Nigeria. The need for more space in these centres is constantly growing, thus further fuelling the prices in Lagos for real estate.
There is also an expatriate population that is generally on the rise, alongside an emerging middle class. Those two factors alone create even more demand in a market already short of supply. Location, location, Location – that is what drives the price.
Meanwhile Lagos’s population as a whole is rapidly growing. Lagos is expected to surge from 15m people today to 25m people by 2015.
FRAME: It is a relatively new approach for developers and private companies to undertake such projects. There have been some notable successes, one of which was executed by our group, Banana Island. That was the first residential and commercial development where there was a sewage network. That development commenced in the early 1990s and has become the most valuable real estate in Nigeria.
Construction companies thus have the capacity to undertake such large projects. That opened people’s eyes to the possibilities and sparked the development of Lekki. If you travel along the Lekki peninsula you will see developments being built and generally speaking the standards are fair or reasonable. People have seen that private development can be successful when it is properly funded.
How conducive is the current legal framework for infrastructure projects? FRAME: The Lagos State Government and the Nigerian Federal Government have a long-standing reputation for honouring their commitments, especially in relation to real estate. We have a certificate of occupancy for the land to be reclaimed. This allows us to develop the project, get the city up and running, and provide the necessary services. Under the terms of the concession agreement with the Lagos State Government, which has been very supportive in this project, all potential residents in Eko Atlantic can be assured of full legal protection.
Oxford Business Group