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