Investors push Ikoyi profile to new high with multi-level office space projects

Michael Chudi Ejekam : Investors push Ikoyi profile to new high – The high profile status of Ikoyi as the most sought-after residential address in Lagos has been taken to a new level by up- market real estate investors who, in the last 12-18 months, have been in what seems to be a scramble for the skyline of this coveted area with multi-level office space and mixed use projects. By the last count, about six new projects, mainly commercial office space, rising 13 to 15 floors with gross buildable areas (GBA) ranging from a minimum of 7,500 square metres to 19,500 square metres have gone off the ground along the Kingsway Road alone. Before now, any discussion on or around Ikoyi in terms of real estate centred on its Victorian architecture on residential developments, but changing business dynamics and rising demand for Grade A commercial office space in secure, serene and decent environment by international businesses have changed all that, creating a new commercial real estate destination not seen before in Lagos. “There is nothing strange or particularly wonderful about what is happening in Ikoyi; what that simply tells you is that Kingsway is to- day the most desirable, most sought after office space address in Lagos”, says Obi Nwogugu, head, African Capital Alliance Property Investment Company. “We have seen some interesting developments on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street on Victoria Island but King- Sway is today the preferred destination”, he adds, pointing out that the last has not been seen on this axis. Victoria Island, arguably, the Central Business District (CBD) in Lagos is getting saturated by the day and piling pressure on its few residential properties, leading to a residential vacancy rate that a recent report by Financial Derivative Company estimated at 32 percent. The island, however, has a number of pipeline projects such as the Civic Centre Towers rising about 16 floors, Waves which is about 15 floors, The Wings which holds promise for 14 floors for office space, among others. Eko Atlantic City is coming to cap it all with its numerous business districts. “Grade A office spaces are in high demand by inter- national businesses”, Funke Okubadejo, a director in Real Estate at Actis, explains, add- ing that these businesses need the offices in decent places. At various stages of construction are Kingsway Towers by Glover Road, a commercial office space development with 15 floors on 15,000 square metres, and just close to it is the BAT Rising Sun opposite Ikoyi Club. This is a mixed use development that sits on 19 square metres, holding promise for 13 floors out of which four will be used for office space. By Lugard and Kingsway Avenue junction is the Heritage Place, another commercial development that will rise 14 floors on 15,600 square metres. Eight of the 14 floors will be for office space and the rest for parking. The Sogenal Towers located beside the Mercedes Place is a mixed use development occupying 7,500 square metres and will rise 15 floors that will be leased or rented out as commercial office spaces. Michael Chudi Ejekam, also a director, real estate at Actis, which is the promoter of the Heritage Place, added that there is also high demand for office spaces that are not only Grade A, but also energy-efficient.