Like a foetus in the womb, residents of Lagos and regular visitors to the former bar beach along Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, have continued to witness in awe, the gradual transformation of what used to be a splendour beach front to arguably, the single most ambitious and comprehensive development plan to come on stream in the West African sub-region in recent times.
Privately funded by South Energyx Nigeria Limited, the developers and city planners, a subsidiary of the Nigeria-based Chagoury Group of companies working in strategic partnership with the Lagos State government and supported by the Nigerian federal government, the Eko Atlantic City is a head-turning project in the country’s former capital city.
The Eko Atlantic project is an entirely new coastal city being built to solve the chronic shortage of real estate in the Nigerian commercial capital. The project, which is standing on a 10 million square metres of land reclaimed from the ocean is protected by an 8.5 kilometre long sea wall.
The city is designed to be self-sufficient and sustainable with its own power, clean water, advanced telecommunications, spacious roads and 110,000 trees.
Nigerians are not merely excited by the prospect of another real estate development as the country, and even Lagos State in particular, has become a centre for divergent real estate development, offering all kinds of luxury apartments and office spaces. The spate of excitement is propelled by the size of the land reclamation, and the sophisticated technology being employed which is not a common sight in this part of the world.
Land reclamation, also known as land fill (not to be confused with a landfill), is the process of creating new land from ocean, riverbeds, or lake beds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.
Interestingly, in other climes, like the United States, the term “reclamation” can refer to returning disturbed lands to an improved state. In Alberta, Canada, for example, reclamation is defined by the provincial government as “The process of reconverting disturbed land to its former or other productive uses.” In Oceania it is frequently referred to as land rehabilitation.
The closest reference Nigerians have about a complex exercise of this nature is the major land reclamation in the United Arab Emirates. Though a relatively recent phenomenon, it has significantly changed the geography of many parts of the country.
Countless land reclamation projects, both completed, under construction, and planned, have changed the appearance of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other emirates and helped to make them world-famous.
It is therefore with this kind of excitement and the quest to be part of history that Nigerians are tracking every single development in the Eko Atlantic City project: from the infrastructural road works and underground surface drainage pipes already laid along major routes across the new city to piling works which have been completed for the many bridges.
The Great Wall of Lagos sea revetment, which is being built more than two kilometres offshore at eight-and-a-half metres above sea level, has surpassed five kilometres in length and is now protecting over five million square metres of the Eko Atlantic City.
Most visible to the admiration of commuters along the Ahmadu Bello Way are the high rising buildings, although very few but very significant in visualising the promised posh city. There are already over 1,000 units of apartments of various room sizes ranging from one bedroom to four bedroom penthouses already under construction. High-rise developments will provide just slightly over 560 apartment units with one tower completely sold out and the first set of units would be delivered soon, according to the company behind the project.
The interest generated by the project transcends the country or even the African continent. In a tour of the project site by a trade delegation of the British Prime Minister on Thursday, July 28, led by John Howell, a Member of Parliament and Trade Envoy to Nigeria and Paul Arkwright, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Howell described the project as “an amazing feat of engineering.”
Speaking in the same vein, High Commissioner Arkwright said he was amazed by the sheer size and ambition of the project which has replaced land that has been lost due to coastal erosion.
“I look forward to seeing the city develop and become a home to British business,” he said, adding, “I am also surprised by how much development has taken place since I was last here — most roads have been constructed with numerous buildings nearing completion. Eko Atlantic is a wonderful opportunity for British business to make a difference in Nigeria.”
David Frame, Managing Director, South Energyx Nigeria Limited in an interview with Daily Trust said: “We’ve currently reclaimed 6.25 million square meters and have 10 buildings at different stages of development. Some of our developers include Eko Pearl Limited — they are developing five residential towers and Orlean Invest is developing a combination of commercial and residential towers
“The first residential tower (Eko Pearl Tower 1) and the first commercial (Alpha One Tower), are both to be completed this year and be ready for first occupants. Development of the city’s infrastructure for phases 1 & 2 will be completed this summer. Dredging of phase 3 has already started.”
The city’s road design and construction has been built according to world’s best practices with beautifully paved sidewalks, tree-lined and street lights completed with a stunning ocean view.
The extensive road network is now clearly defined with an area in excess of 200,000 sq metres. Most significantly Eko Boulevard, an 8 lane Boulevard, 1500 m long (similar to the 5th Avenue in New York) the focal point of the business district is fully completed from Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island to the Ocean Front, where an exquisite waterfront entertainment is being planned.
The futuristic city is also expected to be a tourist hub due to its infrastructure network which makes it the most technically advanced city in Nigeria.
“We strongly believe the new boulevard will enhance business activities and be the ideal location for company headquarters, luxury and business hotels and also residential elements as well as attracting tourists from all over Africa,” says Frame.
The city is already gearing to play host to a couple of events commencing in September, such as the BMW Centenary celebration, Lagos Fashion & Design Week, Made in Nigeria Festival and COPA Lagos.
On completion, the city will be home to about 450,000 residents, providing office facilities for another 150,000 people, with commuter volume expected to exceed 300,000 people daily.