With the perennial traffic logjam gradually becoming a thing of the past and the Lagos State Government’s resolve to renew Apapa GRA’s once pristine environment, efforts at restoring the neighbourood’s lost glory are eventually yielding fruits as the private sector has begun to massively invest in the area’s rejuvenation. Renowned to be one of Lagos’s highbrow residential neighbourhoods, Apapa is now being dotted with luxurious and trendy projects like the recently completed row of luxury terrace apartments christened Fort Johnson. Bennett Oghifo reports…
Apapa GRA was once the pride of Lagos. Alongside Ikoyi and Ikeja GRA, it was home to the bourgeoisie that controlled a major chunk of the nation’s economy. With three of the nation’s biggest seaports within its precinct, it naturally became the residential area of choice for senior executives and top government officials. Even Nigeria’s military top brass found no other home than Apapa GRA. Till date, serving and former generals have made the area home.
But like a hibiscus left to scorch in the sun, Apapa GRA fast became a shadow of its past. Illegal squatters, street traders, illegal motor parks and the like besieged the once pristine neighborhood turning it into a shadow of its past. The menace of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called ‘okada’ soon overwhelmed the neighbourhood, leaving residents seemingly helpless.
But thanks to renewed efforts by the Lagos State Government to bring back its lost glory, Apapa GRA is fast shedding its inglorious skin. “Apapa GRA is a noble area which used to be the pride of Lagos State. We cannot fold our arms and allow some people to bring ruins to the area,” Tunji Bello, the state’s Commissioner for the Environment, stressed during his recent tour of the neighbourhood. “We shall work with the residents’ association to restore the glory of Apapa GRA.”
Buoyed by this tough stance by the state government, the private sector is now playing a central role in engendering a new lease of life for area. Recently, the Odu’a Group commissioned the Apapa Mall housing stores with diverse interests like telecoms, electronics, fashion, fast food, financial services, entertainment, and so on. The new mall also boasts of a cinema and the popular Shoprite department store.
Interestingly, a stone’s throw from the Apapa Mall is the new row of luxury terrace apartments, known as Fort Johnson. Christened after Lagos’s first military governor, General Mobolaji Johnson and tucked away in a serene corner of the GRA, this new development is poised to offer residents a privileged lifestyle. According to its developer, Terraworks Limited, the property is unique in several respects. Its contemporary design is tastefully lavished across three superb floors. The master suite (penthouse) boasts of two expansive bedrooms, spacious walk-in closet, superb bathroom, study and two balconies – one overlooking an outdoor bar, swimming pool and gym for recreation and relaxation. There are three en-suite bedrooms on the second floor and two large living rooms, one on the ground floor and the other on the second floor. The kitchen, which fully fitted with the finest Italian stainless steel appliances, sits beside the maid’s room.
The property is fully serviced with standby generators, dedicated transformer, intercom, CCTV, cable TV, a swimming pool and water fountain, fully functional gym, and an outdoor bar. With regards to security, Engr. Ifeanyi Okonkwo, Terrawork’s Director of Projects, says not only is Fort Johnson’s serviced with CCTV cameras, its proximity to the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Signals Corps allows it enjoy top-notch round-the-clock security for its residents.
Disclosing that his company has brought its wide-ranging experience in property development and management to bear in the development of this new property, Okonkwo guarantees a steady rise in Fort Johnson’s value in the coming years. “We only play in selected markets – those that guarantee sustainable value now and in the future,” he says. Stressing that Terrawork’s broad experience cuts across real estate development, construction logistics and investment advisory services, Okonkwo points out that his company has continued to deliver significant value in the real estate market to its institutional, corporate and private clients across the country.
Speaking about Terrawork’s operational strategy, Okonkwo discloses that his company deliberately promotes a sustainable relationship with it clients over time. His words: “We appreciate the importance of long-term relationships in our target markets. As such, we operate with a long-term outlook that focuses more on the sustained growth of the business than quarterly results.”
Apapa is Nigeria’s main seaport, located to the west of Lagos Island. Its numerous creeks, islands and waterfronts make it a veritable tourists’ delight and there is a high concentration of expats in this area.
Apapa is close to Lagos Island and people get around in all sizes of boats. That axis of the city has popular shops, good restaurants