Twenty-one months after its ground-breaking ceremony, the multi-billion naira Novare Lekki Mall was last week, officially commissioned and opened for normal business activities.
The N31.5 billion mall, described as the biggest in Nigeria, is a retail market with 22,000 square metres that promises fresh, comfortable and convenient shopping experience.
The retail market in Nigeria, despite the challenges in the economy, according to experts, has enjoyed considerable interest from both local and foreign investors who, in the last 10 years, have invested over $3 billion in the market and delivered close to 200,000 square metres of retail space to the market.
“The retail facility is strategically located in Lekki area of Lagos and is the largest so far in the city,” said the Chairman of the Novare Group, Fabian Ajogwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
He noted that the mall is driven by Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), valued at over $83 million (an equivalent of R1.245 billion and N31.5 billion), and is funded by a mixture of equity and debt financing.
Ajogwu, at the commissioning attended by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by his Special Adviser for Commerce, Mr Benjamin Olabinjo, noted that Novare Lekki Mall is a development of the Novare Africa Property Funds, which has a mandate to develop and manage modern retail and commercial facilities across sub-Saharan Africa.
According to him, Novare Africa Property Fund I and II, domiciled in Mauritius as foreign investors into Nigeria, is managed by Novare Fund Manager.
Besides, he hinted that Novare Africa Property Fund II, which includes an investment in Novare Lekki, announced its final close at the end of June 2016, having raised $350 million (R5.25 billion) for investment in a portfolio of new developments in, amongst others, Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique.
Johan Blom, the mall’s Centre Manager, who represented the managing director of the Novare Real Estate Africa, described the mall as “world class shopping complex with state of the art facilities and exquisite architecture built to the highest international standards and set to be one of the largest retail shopping malls in West Africa.”
Shoprite, the ubiquitous South African retail chain, and Game are the anchor tenants in this mall which has about 100 shops, including restaurants and five Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, as well as 1,000 parking bays.
Its other tenants include Adidas, HealthPlus, Pep, MTN, Tantalizers, Swatch, Levi’s, Spur, Nike and Stanbic IBTC Bank. The mall has recorded 95 per cent interest with 75-80 per cent occupancy rate.
Mr Peter Bamkole, an engineer and a director of the company, hinted on the relevance of this project which, he said, transcends financial value, explaining that “from the development stage until the date it becomes operational, the mall will empower over 5,000 Nigerians with direct and indirect employment.”
The mall, which is situated near the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos Business School and Lakowe Lakes Golf and County Estate, is easily accessible from the Lekki-Epe Expressway and is expected that many of its customers will come from new housing estates in the Lekki Peninsula and Sangotedo areas.
In his comment, Novare Real Estate Africa’s MD/CEO, Mr Jan Van Zyl, noted that the completion of the mall on schedule and within budget was a testimony of the team’s ability to successfully undertake retail and commercial property developments in Nigeria and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, pointing out that “Novare Lekki Mall incorporates the latest elements in modern shopping centre design and aims to provide visitors with state-of-the-art facilities in a user-friendly, safe and pleasant environment.”
In his address, Ambode assured investors, both foreign and local, the commitment of his administration to provide the enabling environment and other necessary support, including security of life and property in the state.
“We urge you to ensure that you give the best of service to your customers,” he said, adding that government is happy to hear that parking of vehicles would be free for the customers.
Some of the unique features of the mall include family entertainment area to be provided by Fun World; indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and green areas for an eco-friendly and sustainable environment.
Among the early tenants, as announced by Professor Ajogwu, include MTN, Addidas, Health Plus, Tantalizers, Swatch, Levi’s Spur, Nike and Stanbic IBTC, among others.