A bold statement in neighourhood shopping has been made with the development of The Hive, a one-stop arena in Oniru for work and play.
The Hive, conceived and rendered by Hive Properties Limited, a property development company, as a small neighbourhood mall for families in the Oniru and Lekki axis of Lagos.
According to the Company Secretary, Seni Kusamotu, the idea of establishing the facility emerged from the fact that there is a huge population of families in this side of Oniru and Lekki that go all the way to Lekki Phase I to do their shopping and banking transactions, particularly to buy little things like confectioneries.
“We identified the opportunity and we felt we needed to fill the gap in the Oniru and Lekki Ocean Side. The mall is situated on the alternative route for those who do not want to use the toll road for whatever reason. It is a very commercial area and I believe that the Lagos Government has also commercialized this area as well.”
They acquired the land and got the necessary approvals for construction from the Lagos State Government and built the mall on three floors, complete with a roof top. It is just over 2,000sqms lettable space.
Interestingly, the anchor tenant is a bank, FCMB, which has a full branch at the mall. “They (FCMB) are our anchor tenant; they supported us and will support us in the future.”
The flow of the facility gives equal opportunities to all shop owners and ease of movement for shoppers and other users of the mall.
Entering the mall from the ground floor are two shops; a large space for fast food outlet and a smaller one for confectioneries, this is 17sqms. It is dedicated to sale of ice cream, frozen yogurt, cupcakes.
On the first floor to the right is the FCMB branch and on the left are shops ranging from 20sqms to 56sqms and this runs to the first and second floors. There are both commercial and office spaces.
He said, “The beauty of the mall is that we also have a roof terrace that is dedicated to neighbourhood lounge, bars, relaxation place where people on their way back from work can sit down and relax, watch a football game and even have diner. That is the general idea.”
The big malls, he said are a bit far from where people live and it could be inconveniencing when all that was needed were a few groceries, a quick bite and do banking transaction.
The shops, according to him, are moderately priced and not in any way close to what the big malls charge and, certainly, the promoters do not charge in foreign currencies. “The shops are very affordable.”
For a neighbourhood mall, the parking space is huge, with enough space for 50 cars at any given time. “We sacrificed building a bigger mall with more lettable space to have more parking, because we believe that people will be more comfortable coming here once they know that they don’t have to wait for people to move or block other vehicles. They would rather come here than go elsewhere with parking problems.
In addition to the parking space is adequate green area. The mall is purpose-built to give a particular feel of space and freedom of movement unlike some facilities that are cramped. “We have a large area here that is dedicated to greens. It complements the ambience of the mall and projects it.
“For us, we want to get it right from the start and do it properly. The problem these days, which is symptomatic of Nigeria is that everybody wants to maximise their building and do not want to follow physical planning laws but we insisted on adhering to all the physical planning laws. We have a lot of green areas so that people will be comfortable to bring their families here.”
He said other tenants are already fitting out their shops and that prospective tenants were welcome, adding that they could begin business immediately. “FCMB started operation in the first week of December. They have three ATMs here, in addition to the banking hall upstairs. We are just putting the last coat of paints with a little adjustments here and there. You can move in and start your business and you don’t have to worry about a lot of things.”
Shop owners have their own toilets and there is a facility manager to ensure that the quality of the mall is maintained. He said it was a good opportunity for small and medium size companies to do business in the facility.
The Hive’s promoter said he would rather not put a figure to the cost of constructing the mall but that it was considerable, particularly with the downturn in the economy and the cost of foreign exchange.
He assured prospective users of the mall that high quality materials were used in the construction and fitting, adding that there is water facility to serve everybody at all times.
There are two treatment plants for water and sewage; four water tanks down and two up. Shop owners could allow their clients to use their toilet or shoppers can use the communal toilets on the roof top.
On health and safety, he said when the mall was being developed they incorporated fire alarm systems and extinguishers in all the units and a central fire hose on all floors.
Security at the mall is managed by the facility managers. They have CCTV cameras in the external part of the building to capture activities around the mall and there are guards on foot patrol, as well as armed security men by virtue of the presence of the bank.
This is Hive Properties’ first mall and commercial property because they have been involved in private property development. “We are looking at other areas with low to middle class population like Ilupeju, Gbagada, Surulere, among others.
“We have been in business for about three years and we have being into the development of residential property and now when I do the maths, I know that the development of neighbourhood malls is the way forward.