Reasons For Vacant Buildings In Lagos Island

Broad Street on Lagos Is­land used to be a centre of attraction for business owners given its unique loca­tions and nearness to the Apapa Sea Port; hence, it serves as the headquarters of some major or­ganisations in the country. How­ever, this attraction seems to be dwindling owing to some factors as highlighted by experts.

The intention of every build­ing developer or owners of com­mercial structures is to have value for their money and re­turns on investment in form of rents or lease of such proper­ties for a period of time.

However, it is a bad invest­ment having committed so much capital to put up such gi­gantic structures only for such structures to be lying waste, yielding nothing in term of re­turns and depreciating in value over time because potential would-be occupants no longer find such properties attractive.

Unfortunately, some of these abandoned structures that to­day adorn Broad Street and many parts of Lagos Island have been taken over by hoodlums who use such buildings as their hide out to perpetrate their ne­farious and underhand dealings such as rape, kidnapping and smoking of hard drugs.

Many examples of such structures can be found on Broad Street, Marina, Eko Idu­mota all in Lagos Island to men­tion but a few.

However, a discerning mind would be tempted to ask the question, why are the buildings on the hitherto attractive loca­tions on the Lagos Island sud­denly become non attractive to business owners?

Mr. Afolabi Adedeji a prop­erty consultant in trying to dis­sect this question stated that many factors were responsible for this.

According to Adedeji; “There are so many factors that are re­sponsible for this trend, one of such factors is the economic meltdown of the late 80s down to the present time.

‘’The economic downturn has whittled down peoples’ pur­chasing power, leading to their inability to afford the high cost of rent in these areas.”

“Another important reason for this is the pattern of struc­tures on the Island which do not conform to the contemporary demands.

Adedeji said that developers in these areas, years back, did not take into cognizance the es­tablishment of amenities such as hospitals, schools, residen­tial plans among others which hitherto, supposed to add value to such structures on the Island.

‘’For instance, most of these structures do not have parking spaces for vehicles and because of the growing population; some of the spaces meant for parking purposes have been used to erect structures such as shops and warehouses and so on to generate additional income for the owners even though, additional structure was not in the original master plan of such locations”.

The property consultant fur­ther stated that developers and business owners in Lagos State have found other areas good enough to site their businesses other than Lagos Island.

“There is a change in the taste of business owners and developers in Lagos State and its environs for more afford­able, spacious and serene envi­ronment to establish their busi­nesses.

Places on the mainland like Ikeja, Gbagada, Ilupeju to men­tion but a few, have taken the shine off Lagos Island in terms of attraction and preference as they are more appealing, well planned, and more affordable for average business owners, hence, the influx of people into these new areas.

He added that the movement of the federal capital from La­gos to Abuja serve as a major contributor downward value for properties in the Island as most businesses and headquar­ters of key organisations that were formerly located on the Island have moved to the new nation’s capital, Abuja.

Key government ministries like the army headquarters, Federal Radio Corporation Na­tional Hospitals, Federal Secre­tariat among others that were formerly on Lagos Island have been moved to Abuja since its creation.

Adedeji said all these con­tributed to the arrays of emp­ty structures that now dotted many streets on the Island”.

He, however, gave some clues as to what could be done to re­verse this trend.

Adedeji, who said hope is not however, not lost on such invest­ment, advised that experts in building constructions such as Structural Engineers, Archi­tects Quantity Surveyors and the like should always be con­sulted before construction takes place in the first place.

These consultants will give professional advice regarding structures befitting of such acres of land. They can also make a projection of what the environment will look like in the next 10 to 100 years to come.

‘’With these experts in build­ing constructions on your side, you will understand the capac­ity of the land you are building on in order to put up the right structures in place,’’ he said.

‘’For examples, there are some structures with helipad and underground car park facil­ities which would-be occupants are looking for, that are obvious­ly lacking in some of the struc­tures on the Island”.

He however, admitted that some of those structures could be redesigned to conform to the contemporary demands.

“If you visit a place like the Banana Island and its environs in Ikoyi area of Lagos, you will discover that there is a new twist in the design of some of the old structures to meet up with modern tastes and de­mands.

He nevertheless, stated that there is no justification for hav­ing structures that are other­wise supposed to be yielding some level of income to the owners and the state lying fal­low.

The expert said it is an eco­nomic aberration as such struc­tures could still be used for certain social and economic purposes if they are properly managed.

The old Ikoyi Federal Secre­tariat is a typical example of this kind of abandoned struc­tures. You can imagine the de­preciation this building has suffered over the years due to neglect.

This building could be con­verted to a residential building, schools or other useful purposes rather than allowing it to keep wasting away he lamented”.

Another important point to consider on this issue is the af­fordability of the rents in these areas. The rents are not within the reach of an average Lagos residence even if he wants to overlook the earlier highlighted factors.

A situation where the rent on a small room apartment on the Island costs as high as N500, 000 a yearly is very much on the high side for the average resi­dents.

Adedeji concluded that gov­ernment should make frantic efforts not only to ensure that structural master plan and lay­outs are followed by building contractors in order to reflect the features of ideal structures, but should also ensure that rents fees are controlled by reg­ulatory agencies in these areas in order to protect the interest of would-be occupants from property owners.


Source: National Mirror Online

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