What can you buy with 2 million, 400 thousand US dollars? A tonne of things are probably running a race through your mind right now, and that is understandable to you and us, but not to the developers at Eko Atlantic, who believe a top-floor apartment in the ‘luxury’ development is exactly what you should get. One apartment, not the whole touring skyscraper.
Twitter went up in an uproar following an advert introducing potential investors to the world of prime luxury that Eko Atlantic promises. It is mostly outrage at such overpricing of what one Twitter user compared to a tacky London Council flat.
The video, which made the rounds of timelines via @AfricaFactsZone handle, opens to a polished tiled interior on which the camera pans out to show a spacious nicely furnished parlour sporting a flatscreen TV and decent lighting, a kitchen comes into view done in polished wood, a bedroom with a queen-sized bed comes into view, then a toilet that looks neat and big enough to contain two people at a go. Our guide enters the frame and shows us the living area making a point to let you know that the TV is big 75 or 80 inches, big enough to watch whatever you want to watch in any case.
There are wall paintings, which he muses makes it look very exquisite. But that is nothing compared to the dining area with its magnificent view of the ocean and its occasional traffic of motorboats, “The kind of thoughts you will hear me having here will be remarkable, thoughts of how you wanna make your next 5million dollars that you will use to pay rent or buy new property” he chimes cheerily.
This is a $2.4 million apartment in Eko Atlantic City in Lagos State, Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/ZiYB330CUG
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) April 13, 2020
The rent he lets you know is 4million naira per month, just 11,000 USD, and about 100,000 USD per year. But that is all worth it when you consider the floor to ceiling window right next to the dining table that can sit 6 people, where you can take your coffee while you ponder your next vacation destination. It cuts abruptly there, presumably a longer version is on YouTube.
That the ad did not mince words about its target market still did not deter other Nigerians from chipping in their two cents.
Twitter user Saint Mari said:
Eko Atlantic is an interesting concept, but the economics do not make sense to me.
Even if the target market is only international investors, $2.4 million for an average looking apartment is insane. https://t.co/tTaAAW3oEQ
— Saint Mari (@teslimalabi_) April 13, 2020
Eko Atlantic is an entirely new coastal city being built on Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, and it is standing on 10 million square metres of land reclaimed from the ocean, and protected by an 8.5 kilometre long sea wall, it is a development at par with that which the world has seen with Dubai, in United Arab Emirates. So perhaps that justifies the luxury value of these newly completed apartments?
Real estate agent @ronaldnzimora, partly quoted above, does not think so:
That $1 Million Eko Atlantic apartment that looks like a tacky London Council flat is one reason why I keep telling you people to save your money and not buy a house in this Lagos.
I am in real estate and if I say it, there's a reason why. But if you insist, I will sell you one.
— Ikenna Ronald Nzimora (@ronaldnzimora) April 13, 2020
These objections at first glance seem reasonable, but there is something eerie that we observed about how most commentators have made comparisons to what they consider a better deal elsewhere in the world. Deals they hailed specifically for the fact that they would come with a possibility of getting a permanent residency in a more developed country.
Twitter user @dray_pappi tweeted an image of a palatial property in Pensacola, Florida, with the caption:
“Take a look at this apartment.. it’s worth a million… those eko Atlantic people ain’t trying at all.. las las na the location money you dey pay for” referring to the elite location that Eko Atlantic is, which is comparable perhaps to Beverly Hills rather than Pensacola. A point many, himself included seem to have missed.
Take a look at this apartment..its worth a million…those eko Atlantic people ain't trying at all..las las na the location money you dey pay for pic.twitter.com/ffOMHT2dZb
— dray_pappi (@Dray_pappi) April 13, 2020
The development is still ongoing, this viral apartment is from just one of two completed towers called Pearl Towers. The blueprint certainly gives off an air of luxury, from the exterior. The concern that should therefore be raised is “Who is in charge of that interior design?” we can then take it from there and address their seeming lack of grasp of what “luxury” should look like in 2020 and especially in the future in which Eko Atlantic is looking to be relevant. Maybe if more people see it as the Wakanda we all deserve they would not be so outraged at the outrageous pricing of the apartments. Yet even if it were so, how do you convince people to hail a Wakanda they can’t dream of gaining access to in a country tagged the world poverty capital?
The ad may also be ill-timed as @NekkaSmith rightly points out:
Eko Atlantic's marketing team flawed their Brand presence.
Your inability to feel the pulse of the people during this Global Economic crisis + the Local environment just tells a lot about your strategy.
When hunger is wiring people,you chose to run an Ad on an overpriced flat.
— One.acre says Free Dadiyata (@NekkaSmith) April 13, 2020
Whatever the case, people to whom this is merely an investment opportunity will buy into it, and it is unlikely a twitter uproar will tank its value. So why the fuss?
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