The development of the Lekki Free Trade Zone and Dangote refinery offer great opportunities for professionals in the real estate sector, experts have said.
The basic opportunities, according to an estate surveyor and valuer, Paul Osaji, are housing; hospitality and hotels; health care and medical centres; recreation and parks; shopping malls; and transportation infrastructure and logistics, among others.
“Interestingly, all these are real estate-based and opportunities in their creation and management abound from the conceptualisation stage to utilisation and ultimately their renewal,” he said.
Osaji spoke at the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Lagos Branch’s luncheon on the theme, ‘The Dangote refinery project and Lekki Free Trade Zone: Capturing the real estate opportunities’.
He said that presently only about 20 per cent of the available space around the area was being utilised and that the injection of investments in the region was set to transform the existing environment into a highly industrialised area with mixed-use developments, leading to rapid economic growth, increased migration rate and job creation of about 300,000.
He added that the Lekki Free Trade Zone had attracted $10.1bn investment commitments from about 49 investors.
Osaji said, “Opportunities in housing can be captured by the private or the public sector, or the combination of both. Currently, some private sector developers as well as the Lagos State Government have provided housing within the neighbourhood of the Lekki Free Trade Zone and Dangote refinery site for the workers at these locations.
“Between POC Nigeria Limited, the developers of Sapphire Garden and Eko Akete, which is the Lagos State Government, they have provided accommodation for about 1,000 staff of Dangote refinery. Other developers and estates outside the zone are providing accommodation for the skilled and unskilled workers in the zone. We are aware that over 8,000 engineers will be engaged by Dangote refinery.
“The satisfaction of their housing need is a clear opportunity for both public and private investors. In the area of housing, the Lagos State Government is creating housing estates all around the immediate vicinity and beyond; one of their latest developments is the sub-division at the foot of Epe-Lekki Bridge and they are in partnership with private estate developers to provide private residential neighbourhood. In effect, they are aggressively involved in land development within this zone.”
He noted that the Federal Government was also doing its bit by the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Benin-Shagamu road and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to enhance the distribution of over 35 per cent of farm produce from the zone to the hinterland.
He added, “All these opportunities that are captured and being captured are all real estate-based. The investment opportunities available from the Lekki Free Trade Zone as well as the Dangote refinery cannot take place without professional consultancy services.
“As professionals, our major area of business is in real estate; pre-investment and development studies, valuation of assets for all purposes, property brokerage and facilities management.”
The Lagos Regional Director of First City Monument Bank, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said the refinery would be a delight to real estate investors.
“We look forward to the opportunities that it will create for the economy. The real estate sector has been severely hit as we see a reduction in occupancy rate; despite this, there are huge opportunities and it is left to the discerning to take advantage of these,” she added.
The Chairman, NIESV, Lagos branch, Mr. Offiong Ukpong, said estate surveyors and valuers should be interested in the economic dynamics of investments such as the free trade zone and the refinery to Lagos State and the country at large.
“The competences we have are in the area of land economics and not up to 25 per cent of our knowledge content has been exploited or used in Nigeria,” he said.
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