As Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos is expected to lead the national count for modern shopping malls over the next decade, in tandem with the city’s fast growing population, currently put at anywhere between 17 and 20 million people.
Currently, 60% of South Africans shop in formal retail supermarkets compared to 30% of Kenyans, 4% of Ghanaians, 2% of Nigerians and 2% of Cameroonians.
Lagos is currently home to several malls. Most of these malls are however located on the coastal, more affluent sections of the state – in the Ikoyi-Victoria Island-Lekki peninsula axis – commonly referred to as the Island.
On the mainland side of Lagos are population heavy zones like Ojota, Oyingbo, Ojuelegba, Mile 2, Ikorodu and Ikeja, the state’s administrative capital which also has many residential cum commercial districts, like Agege, Ogba, Ojodu, and Maryland just to name a few. And an urban sprawl like Maryland, for instance, represents many things to many people.
Maryland illustrates the various realities of city life. Located right in the middle of mainland Lagos, Maryland has been a residential district and a hectic hub of social activities for decades: it is also an economic and commercial nerve center; a major intersection connecting citizens and visitors alike to the major thoroughfares across the city, and a perfect exhibit of the city’s quest for affordable, urban development.
Maryland can indeed be regarded as the confluence of the city’s pain points, especially in the area of socio-economic progression and infrastructural development. Not a few urban development experts have observed that, like so many other commercially and socially significant zones across the country, the Maryland area seems to be stuck in a time warp, as it continues to witness an ever increasing flow of human and vehicular activities, yet with almost zero upgrade to its environs in terms of accessible modern infrastructure and public services.
All of these is however about to change, thanks to the foresight of Purple Capital Partners Limited, a specialist investment, private equity and real estate firm.
Purple Capital is developing an ultra-modern mall along Ikorodu Road, right where the defunct Maryland Shopping Center was once located. The Mall is therefore strategically positioned to serve citizens and visitors alike, including residents of adjoining Mende, Anthony, Ilupeju, Ojota, GRA Ikeja, Oshodi, Gbagada and all commuters along that axis.
The fact that leading asset manager, AXA Mansard Investments, recently committed an ₦800million investment in Maryland Mall, is further evidence of the mall’s viability. It is also a hint to economists and industry analysts that the future of Nigeria’s real estate and retail sectors might very well depend on the vision, willingness and capacity of financiers and real estate developers to structure sound investments cases that propel socio-economic growth.
The N800 million investment, which consists of a mix of debt and convertible debt stock, reinforces the country’s ranking as a top destination for retail investments in Africa, driven by Nigeria’s population size, rapid urbanization, growth and economic resilience.
When eventually the new Maryland Mall opens its doors to the public in a couple of months’ time, visitors to the mall and the entire city of Lagos will also begin to enjoy a unique feature of the mall which will set it apart from any other supermarket or mall in Africa’s largest economy: it will have the largest outdoor LED screen in West Africa.
The LED screen is to be installed across the full length of the building acting as a façade facing Ikorodu Road. This makes it a landmark building with a remarkable outdoor character and atmosphere in tandem with world renowned locations like Times Square in New York, USA and Piccadilly Circus, London, England, amongst others.
The digital platform will be a first for any retail structure in Nigeria. Beyond its appealing aesthetics and social communications functions, it simply increases the Maryland Mall’s revenue streams, further enhancing the efficiency and financial viability of the facility.