•Speaks On His New Iconic Tower Project
Mr Adetoro Bank-Omotoye is one of the top property players in Lagos. He’s the Managing Director of Cruxstone Development & Investment Limited, a reputable property company in Lagos. Presently, Cruxstone is working assiduously on their new project in Victoria Island, called Iconic Towers; a remarkable project that will change the phase of real estate in Lagos. Iconic Towers is a luxury project that targets high-income earners. This project sits on 10,000 square metres of land and the Phase 1 will come alive in December 2020 and almost all the units in Phase 1 have been sold out.
Two weeks ago, City People TAYO FAJORIN-OYEDIJI and ISAAC ABIMBADE, paid Bank-Omotoye a courtesy visit in his Victoria Island site office. He spoke about his foray into real estate 11 years ago; how he started real estate as an agent. He also told us many things about his current project, Iconic Tower and many other sundry issues. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Your Property company has been in existence since 2007 and you happen to be the MD of the company. Can you tell us more about the company, Cruxstone development company?
My name is Adetoro Bank-Omotoye. I’m the MD of Cruxstone. As you said, I have been in the real estate for over 11 years. I have done well in the last 11 years as co-developer, marketer, and Manager in terms of sales. We have been involved in a different range of real estate; from affordable to mid-range and to high-level properties. The difference between all we’ve done in the past and all we are doing now is we have taken what we are doing now to another level; to world class level. We are bringing to bare all the experiences and knowledge we have garnered over the years into doing something unique, something classy. That is what this is all about. Like my colleague said, this project basically is a partnership between major real estate players and our company, Cruxstone and Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC); as the architect, and also BCL, the foremost construction company in Nigeria.
So, coming together of all these major players is what makes Iconic Towers (our new project) quite different. The location is also one of those things that make this new project special. Everybody knows location is what makes real estate and Victoria Island is good for such investment. The major part LSDPC is playing in the whole thing is that your investment won’t be at risk and getting your title directly from Lagos State government is another advantage.
Do you want to sell Iconic Tower in carcass?
We don’t do carcass. Like I told you, what we do here is world class. We don’t want things compromised at all. So, we will do everything from the start to finish.
You have been in the real estate sector for a while and this Iconic Towers project happens to be your biggest project. Why did you opt for this high-end product?
I told you the other time that what drives real estate is the location. If your location demands that you put properties in place for the high-end, you can’t do lower. You can put a low-end property in Ikoyi or Victoria Island. It just doesn’t work. And you can’t put this kind of properties you put here in Epe, it can’t work.
How many plots of land is the project sitting on?
It sits on 10,000 square metres of land. You don’t get that kind of land easily on Victoria Island.
Can you tell us what the project will look like interms of facilities?
There are more than enough when it comes to parking space for everybody, depending on the unit. For example, the 3 bedroom has 2 park-ins and we also have another option for more.
Can you tell us the duration of the project?
The construction of the project is in phases. The first phase is going to be completed in December 2020 and the second phase is June 2021 and the Final Phase is December 2021. We have sold out the units that will be completed in December 2020. Presently, the construction is on-going.
Can you mention other projects you are handling apart from Iconic Towers?
This project is a collaboration between Cruxstone, LSDPC and BCL. Over the years, we have been involved in other many real estate activities. We have done quite a bit of project in Lagos.
How did your involvement in property start?
I started as an agent. I started real estate by helping friends and family to secure properties. I started an outfit then, specifically for housing letting. I started to provide furnished apartments for corporate organisations, mostly expatriates, who are catered for by my organisation in providing accommodation. I’ve done quite a bit for Mobil, Chevron and other big corporate organisations.
We had several projects for the low-end; we had a housing project in Mowe. Gradually, we started to grow into bigger projects. We identified that the luxury/high-end market has a lot to offer, however, the price is the huge factor to many. In Victoria Island, Ikoyi people spend a lot to get decent apartments. We saw that space and we thought it’s possible to provide luxury accommodation in this space at prices that are not too high. That’s how we were able to identify the vision to develop this project and we started to put structures around it, and eventually, we were able to put together a team that’s good enough. And another thing we have as an advantage is the Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu. When he was the MD of LSDPC then, he did a lot of things in terms of public-private sector participation. We met with him then with our idea on how we would like to change the narrative of Lagos Island and we came up with world-class accommodation but that it must be affordable. He was quite excited about it and he provided all the necessary support. He got the approval for us. And the project is in line with his vision to take real estate to another level.
Why did you decide to go into property business and was that what you studied in school?
That’s a very interesting question. I didn’t study property in school; I studied Zoology in school. I had worked with Lagos State government for about 10 years in the Ministry of Agric before I ventured into the property business. While working in the ministry of Agric, I just believed it wasn’t it for me. I was always fascinated by properties, structures. I started real estate with a funny incident. When I got married then, my wife was living on Victoria Island, at Bar Beach Towers. When I went to move her loads, a lady walked up to me and said she wanted to rent that apartment. I told her I didn’t know anything about it that; I will find out from my wife. So, I asked my wife but she said the owner wants to use it. And the person insisted I had to help her get a place. I laughed. To cut the story short, I started asking people around, in and out of the estate. That’s how I veered into that space of the property. She told me then that if I could get her a place, she would pay me. Eventually, I got a place. So, I went to some of my friends in that industry to tell me more about the sector. And I just got married then and my salary wasn’t much. So, I had to up the game. So, some of my friends in the industry linked me up and that’s how it started.