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Redefining luxury living in Nigeria


 Sijibomi Ogundele

Sijibomi Ogundele

What inspired your choice of name for the LorenzoBySujimoto project?

THE name Lorenzo is associated with brilliance and excellence. When the dream of constructing the tallest residential building in Lagos came to my mind, one name stood out; Lorenzo de’ Medici. He was a powerful Florentine statesman that had a brilliant architectural and artistic mind, which earned him the name ‘ilMagnifico’ (the Magnificent) because he had a keen sight for exceptional things and pushed the boundaries of architectural designs in his era. 652 years later, we are replicating this brilliance by presenting the LorenzoBySujimoto – a magnificent development and symbol of structural mastery in Ikoyi’s prestigious neighborhood of Bourdillon. This project will not only change the landscape of Ikoyi but our intention is to change the way people live.

What innovations are you bringing into this development that are lacking in what your competitors are offering?

The bottom is too crowded so the only choice I had was to move to the top and do something that’s never been done before. The vision of this project is to change the way people live. The Lorenzo is an unrivaled architectural masterpiece with no equal in Nigeria. The concept is simple; we are bringing three fundamental pillars of real estate into one space, Location, Architecture and Lifestyle. From my extensive research in Africa and advanced architectural countries such as The UAE, UK and USA, I picked the best and adapted them to the Nigerian scenario in terms of structure, architecture and interior design. It is our conviction that very few buildings in Africa would have the capacity to compete with the LorenzoBySujimoto upon completion.

What role is technology playing in the development of LorenzoBySujimoto?

We are putting an end to architectural slavery by constructing the first fully automated building in Africa, where you can control everything from light, curtains, AC, music and entertainment, with a single device. Security and comfort tops the list in our research of what people want in a home and we are providing top-notch 24-hour security with live feeds anywhere you are in the world. The Lorenzo is a masterpiece of art, and Sujimoto is the master artist pulling the strings.

Would you consider real estate a viable investment option, at a time when the price of oil is falling drastically?

Until Nigerian investors understand that we cannot drink the oil and that we cannot fry the Gas, people would remain lost in the past. From an investment perspective, the LorenzoBySujimoto has been dubbed the new oil because it gives investors the double advantage of living their dream of world class comfort while offering 112% ROI especially for off-plan buyers. The No. 1 expectation of any investor is ROI, and at a time when the prices of crude oil have fallen rapidly, the naira is very unstable, the only investment that can secure your money is Real Estate. We cannot hide from the fact that we are going through one of the most difficult periods in the history of this country. But then, one of the bedrocks of any investment is REALISM. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has predicted that the Real Estate sector’s value will rise from $9.16billion to $13.65 billion in 2016. It reported that the sector is growing at a rate of 8.7%, making it the 6th largest in the economy.

Nigeria is said to control 40% of the real estate business in Africa. This has prompted some foreign developers to want to invest in the sector in Nigeria. Does this bother you? Why would I be bothered? To be the best, we must learn never to be comfortable with being second. When it comes to concepts and ideas, Nigerians are very idealistic and active but when it comes to execution or implementation, they become pessimistic and inactive. One thing we cannot compromise at Sujimoto is quality. Our intention is not to do things 10% better, our intention is to do things 10 times better. We want to be the Dubai of Africa. We believe in learning and continuously upgrading the standard in our industry. This is why in coming up with the LorenzoBySujimoto project; we travelled across 3 continents in search of two things; quality and inspiration. We visited the choicest properties in Tokyo, New York City, and London, and we are bringing everything we learnt from these places into the LorenzoBySujimoto development.

What have been your major contributions, achievements in the real estate industry?

Within a short period in the real estate industry, we have not only set a standard of excellence and premium quality delivery for developers and real estate professionals, but have also inspired new and existing developers in their approach to luxury real estate development, by simply going out of our way to deliver what we say we would and more. We have gained recognition for being one of the most dynamic luxury construction companies in Nigeria as recorded by Forbes Africa, Channels Television and CNBC to name a few. While our focus is on providing luxury real estate and properties, we are also a socially responsible organization. We constantly identify needs in the society and cater to them through our numerous Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, notable among which are the rehabilitation and scholarship for Olajumoke Orisaguna; renovation of the Male Orthopaedic Ward of the Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and the sharing of ten thousand gift hampers to the poor SUJIMOTO10000.

What are the major problems militating against real estate development in Nigeria?

Immediate gratification is one of the biggest challenges facing the Real Estate sector. The ‘quick fix – quick gain’ syndrome will continue to leave us in the backwaters of world class Real Estate Development if we do not step up our game. Today’s economy belongs to only two types of people. People who understand that customer is King and people who have the great capacity to deliver great value at an affordable price without compromising on quality. You cannot offer a Toyota for the price of a Bentley. You might argue that both cars will eventually ply the same road but the efficiency and prestige of a Bentley speaks for itself. Luxury sells itself. I have sold crap before and I have sold luxury and I can tell you from experience that it is easier to sell luxury than crap. When you sell luxury, you sell peace of mind. You have not only sold something that would last for generations, but you win the heart of your client who now becomes your brand Evangelist. Our biggest marketers are our clients because they know we never disappoint on quality.

What role can government play to ameliorate these problems?

One of the fundamental basic human needs is shelter. It is however ironic that Nigeria with a population of about 170 million people is currently facing a national housing deficit of about 17 million units. The World Bank estimates that to bridge Nigeria’s housing gap will require N60 trillion. I believe that the government needs to realign itself towards reinventing the country in line with a policy of housing for all Nigerians with a feasible timeline as its goal. This objective would require the development of relevant policies for development of quality mass housing schemes all over the country. If well-structured and executed, it will usher in a new era of unlimited flow of resources that will move the economy into prosperity as it will create jobs, wealth and better life for all.

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