GIANT STEPS

Nigeria 2016 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | FOCUS: CONSTRUCTION OF EKO ATLANTIC

A massive land reclamation project is changing the Lagos skyline, and setting the stage for a modern, efficient city.

Eko Atlantic is one of the most ambitious construction projects on the continent. Drawing its inspiration from planned cities around the world, the project has made stunning progress over the past two years. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in February of 2013, and by 2016 it may already have residents.

For an enormous undertaking, such traction is surprising. Satellite photographs of Lagos already show an area of reclaimed land almost equal in size to Victoria Island. Dredgers are at work around the clock, ferrying sand to the quickly filling bay that still remains at the development's eastern edge. Streetlights are already visible at night, and not just a few: there are entire roads fully lit, and a handful of towers nearing completion. Some the first buildings on Eko Atlantic are now in their final stages. Eko Pearl, Afren's headquarters, and Azuri are all visible and rise over half a dozen floors.

Ibeine Ogolo, Azuri's Chief Development Officer, described the progress that had been made on the towers in mid-2015: “We are currently engaged with the piling stages of the development, which we began in January of 2015. We have however completed piling works for the first tower (Orun), 236 of them to be precise, and are at about 90% along with the second tower (Oban), with just 20 more piles outstanding as at June 2, 2015. In terms of timeline, we are on schedule and have begun making off-plan sales. By the end of 1Q2016, we will have finished the podium of the development.” Azuri will continue at a fast pace until it is ready to take on residents, in the near future.

Elias Saad, the developer of Eko Pearl, a flagship project within Eko Atlantic, also has ambitious plans for advancement. Towers have been adding one floor every nine days. According to Mr. Saad, “the towers project will be comprised exclusively of deluxe apartments and will be developed at land level on 22,700sqm at the harbor front of Lagos' innovative Eko Atlantic City. The five Towers are a collection of 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom, and Penthouse-type apartments with sea and marina views for residential and investment purposes only. The towers are named after the most precious Pearls in the sea; Black, Champagne, Aqua, Indigo, and White. My investments have secured a valuable reputation regarding Eko Atlantic, and an increasing number of investors are aligning themselves with my projects.”

The growth in prices at Eko Atlantic has been impressive. After initial strong sales and rapid growth in plots of land, Eko Atlantic now has higher asset classes, such as apartments at the aforementioned developments, on the market. They are attracting more international and institutional buyers. Ronald Chagoury Jr., the vice chairman of South Energyx Limited, explained that they have, “already seen a strong evolution. In some cases, values have already doubled since we first started selling land. That is a success in itself, and prices are continuing to rise… Starting with the infrastructure side, all the cabling and pipes are underground, including drainage, sewerage, water, electricity, and fiber optics. This means that it will be a very pedestrian-friendly city. It will be both residential and commercial, but with developments arranged in an intentional fashion.”
With a stunning amount of land reclamation already complete, Eko Atlantic is well on its way to delivering on its significant promise. As construction proceeds throughout 2016, what is now a vast plain of sand will start looking more like a city.