ONE of the leading real estate giants in Nigeria,Wemabod Estates Limited (a subsidiary of Odu’a Investment Company Limited), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with another renowned architectural firm and developer, Springfield Development Company Limited, to redevelop the Unity House, built 54 years ago, and located at 37, Marina Street, Lagos Island.
The 21-storey edifice, described as “symbol of Yoruba unity”, was built 54 years ago and named Unity House by then Governor of the old Western Region,General Adeyinka Adebayo,who passed-on recently.
Speaking at the Hand-over of Unity House to Springfield Development Co.Ltd., Chairman, Wemabod Estates Limited, Honourable Kayode Alufa, said that it has become imperative to ensure that Unity House, a legacy left behind by the founding fathers to foster unity among the Yoruba nation receives a modern outlook.
According to Alufa, the Board and management of Wemabod observed that the property was going obsolete and infrastructure was no longer meeting t
he realities of time, hence, the conclusion that something significant must be done to ensure that the vision of the founding fathers was not defeated.
“The best way to preserve this legacy is to redevelop the building to meet the 21st Century edifice status and this is why it took some time to get into business, because we need to look for a partner that possesses the requisite qualifications, both in funding and technical competence, therefore, the choice of Springfield.
“The approval of the project and choice of consultant were painstakingly perused over, not only by Wemabod management, but also the parent body, Odu’a Investment Company Limited”, he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Managing Director/CEO, Wemabod Estates Limited, Mr.Olumide John Ologun, said the aim of the company is to provide a smart office environment that will not only be the first of its kind in Nigeria, but also in Africa.
According to Ologun, the vision of management over Unity House is to provide the best in architectural development, saying the decision for redevelopment was not a solo arrangement, but rather it was worked out by the board, the management and the parent body,Odu’a Investment Co.Ltd. before it was eventually approved.
“Apart from the fact that the unity of Yoruba race which Unity House symbolises is preserved, we determine to rejuvenate this iconic building and have a decent economic value.
“Contrary to the perceived delay in taking action, there is need to painstakingly go through the process of choosing partner, because Unity House is one of the biggest investment of the parent body, Odu’a Investment Co. Ltd. that needs to devoided of a hasty decision”, he said.
Speaking on the role his firm would play in actualising this dream, the Principal Partner, ab.dt, an architectural firm, who is also the Director, Springfield Development Company Ltd., Architect Olatunji Bolu, while hesitating to divulge the architectural details of the redevelopment programme, was quick to state that the project is going to be an “Ultra modern Intelligent building that would respond quickly to the need of users”, Bolu, a former President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), listed features that would adorn the redevelopment plan to include restaurant that is designed to occupy the last floor of the building facing the lagoon, to provide maximum relaxation opportunity.
Besides, he said the offices are to be modernised where elevators with modern technology would be installed and many of the current facilities completely changed.
Springfield boss also defended the three years completion period, including the projected N3billion cost of the project.
“Three years stipulated completion date is feasible. We have got our works clearly marked out because we have a contracting firm, Pointi & Co., that has been operating in Nigeria since the 60’s.
“Besides, I have no problem about the exchange rate because I am pretty sure that the economy is on the path towards improvement, hence, naira stability,” he said.