Brains and Hammers to Build N7.8Bn Resort Estate for Shell, Mobil Cooperatives

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Bennett Oghifo

The management of Brains and Hammers Limited, a leading player in the Nigerian real estate sector, has announced a first-of-its-kind working relationship with the cooperative society of major International Oil Companies (IOCs), particularly Shell and Mobil.

The first of such unions was demonstrated with a ground-breaking ceremony for the development of an exquisite property which is named CoopEast Resort Estate.

The partnership provides for the delivery of 117 housing units across three hectares of land behind NICON Beach Resort in Etiosa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The property which is named CoopEast Resort Estate is expected to be fully built and ready for occupation in two years, starting from the ground breaking event which takes place last Saturday.

Chairman of Brains and Hammers, Mr. Adebola Sheidu said they have built over 4,000 homes and that 95 per cent of them were sold off-plan. “Before we start a project, we always ensure we have subscribers so we can bridge the gap of financial challenges.

According to Sheidu, who put the value of the first phase of CoopEast Resort Estate at N7.8 billion, a major challenge in the real estate business was lack of long-term funding and high interest rate, adding that small businesses are suffering in the country on account of these. “You have to be quite creative to survive in the real estate industry in Nigeria. It is very important to start with subscriber-base for the project to succeed. That is what we are known for. In most of our projects, we work with our subscribers from the very beginning.”

The subscribers to CoopEast Resort Estate are mainly members of Shell Cooperative Society with a sprinkling from Mobil Cooperative.

The President of Coopeast (Shell Cooperative), Chief Hyginus Chika Onuegbu said they belonged to the Shell East Staff Investment Cooperative Society (CoopEast) and that they saw investment opportunities in Lagos real estate market.

Onuegbu said the CoopEast Resort Estate was over-subscribed in the first three months, stating that the first phase of the project was gone, and that the second phase would soon be open and that for this, a tripartite agreement would be signed to ensure that Mcoop was include in the deal.

He said they were in Lagos to invest and create value and appealed to the Lagos state government to “take us as Lagosians and give us whatever opportunity that they are giving to others because we are top investors in Lagos State.”

President of Mcoop (ExxonMobil Cooperative) Mr. Shola Sofolahan said though they were the first to hook on to the estate, but that due to some hitches they dropped the ball and Shell Cooperative picked it up. As things stand, not all members of the Mobil cooperative are beneficiaries of this project, because most pulled out of the deal during the lull.

As a way forward, he requested “a tripartite agreement that will tie this relationship together so that nobody will be worse off.”

On the project, the Director of Sales for Brains and Hammers, Mr. Omo Osobase, explained the involvement of his company in the project. He said, “This is the first time we are working with a Cooperative and we hope to deepen that relationship, because cooperative is the way forward.

It is one of the plausible ways to solve or reduce the 18 million housing deficit in Nigeria. That is why we have decided to work in tandem with the vision of the cooperative to provide affordable and decent housing for their members.”
According to Osobase, Brains and Hammers is eager to make a success of the Coopeast Estate to entrench its tradition of excellence in qualitative and affordable housing delivery. He said, “It is a win-win for all the parties involved in this transaction- the cooperative, the cooperators and us. We are very open to working with cooperatives and members of the public generally. It is a partnership that is very promising and we want to use this medium to reach other cooperatives . We are very hopeful that this will lead to a new era of advancement in housing infrastructure across Nigeria.”

Advising other workers cooperative that are keen on providing qualitative affordable housing to their members to follow the executive of Coopeast, Osobase noted that in the past, the leadership of many cooperatives had their fingers in an attempt to build a housing estate for members. He said, “This is not their area of core competence, so their attempt often faltered, not for lack of good intention, but because they do not have the capacity to execute such projects. However, with this arrangement they can arrange mortgage. They also have the advantage of getting very attractive discount from us since they come to us with volume. If they go to the banks, the loans available is at 23%. So, it is better for them to work with us.”

Disclosing the plan for the Coopeast Estate, Osobase said the estate will comprise of four types of accommodation including Three bedroom ensuite plus boys quarters, four bedroom ensuite plus boys quarters and four bedroom ensuite semi-detached. Tje last category is nicknamed ‘the King’s House’, featuring five bedrooms, a study, penthouse, boys quarters and a guest house.

Commenting on the company’s track record, the Chairman, Mr. Adebola Sheidu, said, “We are happy to have people repose the kind of trust they have in banks in us. People buy into our estates, immediately we announce our intention to building and while construction is on-going, it is already fully subscribed. That has been our experience since we delivered the first estate in Abuja. We were persuaded to come to Lagos by satisfied clients who also wanted a house in Lagos. We hold that trust in very high esteem and try to reciprocate the goodwill to our customers. We place a high premium on the integrity and the quality of our structures. We deliver value for money.”

Recalling how the emergence of Brains and Hammers changed the real estate business in Abuja, the real estate promoter, said previously a detached house was sold at between N100 million and N120 million. “We brought the price down to between N60 million and N70 million. People who invest in our projects enjoy a massive return-on-investment of over 80 per cent within 18 months. There is hardly any business you can do that will guarantee that kind of return-on-investment. Now, a lot of people try to key into our projects early.”

Brains and Hammers has an enviable portfolio which consists of over 2000 completed residential homes across Nigeria and ongoing work in over 3000 more. One of its most ambitious developments to date is the Brains and Hammers City in LifeCamp, Abuja. The 3500 unit-city will cater to mid and high level residents at affordable prices. Some of the facilities in the ultra-modern city include restaurants, schools, banks, a five-star hotel, high-end security facilities, jogging tracks, gyms and swimming pools.
Its current development portfolio consists of residential projects within Lagos and Abuja. The sites include Life Camp, Galadima, Gwarimpa, Apo 1, Apo 11, Apo 111, Apo IV, Apo V, all in Abuja; Ijora and along the Lekki corridor in Lagos.