In Ibadan right now, everybody is talking about Dollar Construction, the real estate company that is currently making waves on account of the large-scale projects, it is doing in the real estate sector. A few days back, The MD/CEO of the company, Idowu Lamidi spoke to City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE about the success story of his real estate projects in Ibadan and Abuja. “We don’t sell land, we build estates,” he told City People. Read on.
Tell us about Dollar Construction. What services do you offer?
We are a Real Estate company with projects in Abuja and Lagos. We are presently working on the new one in Ibadan. The one at Ibadan is a 105 units of housing estate in Jericho Idi-Ishin GRA.
We provide top class quality services to clients with interest and to uphold the ethical and quality values of the engineering profession with a mission to be the trail blazer in the field of civil and electrical engineering through value added services.
We are not only into Construction, we have other companies like the West Brain Global Resources Limited, Source Model Academy, Pan Media, Fingerlick and Dollar Farm.
How old is the company and what are the major achievements in terms of projects?
I can say Dollar Construction is 11 years, but I’ve been in construction longer than that. I was doing government contracts and it wasn’t until 2010 that I started my own company.
In terms of achievements, we’ve done a lot of projects in and outside Abuja. We have our own estate, Westwood Homes in Abuja and we have done a series of housing projects for government agencies and institutions. They are all scattered all over Nigeria.
Lets talk about your project in Ibadan
Yes. We have a housing project here at the Jericho/Idi-Ishin GRA of Ibadan. Like I earlier mentioned, it’s a 105 unit houses of different levels. We have the 3-bedroom duplex, 4-bedroom duplex and the 5-bedroom ensuite duplex with all the facilities and features you could think of.
People ought to have moved in this March, but because of some constraint. This estate is unique as we are sourcing our own power, we don’t want to bring more load to the power grid. So, we are sourcing our power and water and I can assure you that by June this year, we would be fully ready.
Our plan coming to Ibadan is strategic. I am from Oyo State, Oyo town to be precise and I also want my State to benefit from my knowledge and experience.
I want to contribute to the growth of Oyo State. This is a state known as the pacesetter, so we are coming to change the narratives and bring the glory of the city back to what it used to be.
Ibadan is one of the largest cities in west Africa, and when we look at Dubai, Washington and all other tourist cities in the world, we know that in matter of size, they can’t stand beside Ibadan. So we are working to bring the facilities and change the standard of living of our people.
Our mission here is not only to create jobs (as we have a lot of hands working on the site), we also want to make Ibadan a tourist attraction and to provide houses for both the rich and the poor. We want to change the perception and make people see that Ibadan can be like Dubai or New York, it’s just a matter of time and the ability of the developers.
Do you sell land or build estates? What does a potential buyer need to do to buy?
We don’t sell land. We build estates. What we have here in Ibadan before our coming was not Real Estate. I’m sorry to tell you that there’s a huge difference between a Community and an Estate.
People think once they have a fence and they restrict okadas from gaining entrance, they have an estate. No, that’s a Community.
We are trying to show the people what they don’t know about real estate. It’s not just about owning a home. It’s an Investment platform for the client. If you buy into an estate and its not appreciating at the rate it should go that means you are not in business.
Real estate is a business that both the rich and the poor should invest in, and that’s why we are in Ibadan, we are starting from the lowest point to the highest. We are not just going to Moniya, buy a land and tell people to come and build. That in clear terms is not real estate but a Community. A community service is quite different from real estate. We have started what real estate should look like in Ibadan and as you can see the pictures and videos speak of what we have to offer.
Our project is Westwood Homes, but most people in Ibadan don’t know my real name. They only call me by my company ‘Dollar’. So they already started calling the project Dollar Estate, its a good name also and I think we should leave it like that, but normally our estate in Abuja is Westwood Homes.
Regarding your question about what it takes a potential buyer, the first step is to signify the interest by going to our website. We have a form and once the form is filled, we take the next step.
How is Dollar construction different from other property companies?
We are careful about the quality of work we render to our clients. We are careful not to deviate from the core standard of engineering construction and we do not compromise our standard. We abide by and follow the tenets of construction as well as the laid down rules and regulations. What stands us out again is our staffs, they are well trained and certified. One funny thing we normally joke about here is that we don’t operate a boss/employee structure, we are all the same. If you get to any of our sites you won’t be able to differentiate who is who. All our staffs know the purpose and the vision of the company. Those in Construction, Marketing, Adverts and Sales they all know the vision and we meet once in a while to strategize.
What is your message to your potential customers?
Try us. We don’t have to boast. Our estate are open. Just come in and see what we have on ground.
Tell us about yourself, why did you go into Real Estate?
My name is Idowu Lamidi. I’m from Oyo State. I was born in Ibadan, had my primary and secondary school in Ibadan before moving to the north where I later finished my education at Nassarawa State Polytechnic where I had my HND in Civil Engineering, I also hold another HND certificate in Land Administration while I’m presently a student of Nasarawa University, studying Business Administration.
I did my Industrial Training with ADKAN. Its one of the leading developers owned by Yinka Bibilari. That man has been a role model to me since when we were building the Model City, Gwarimpa. That gave me the interest in real estate in 2003. Our boss then, Bibilari gave me the Vision. I was an IT student and he was our boss, we were not even close but he inspired me without him knowing. I always look at him from afar, how he handled the project and he sets the fire in me because I felt I can be like him and even surpass him. He was the man Ilooked up to and he made me believe its possible to achieve anything because he sets the vision and the possibility for me. That is how I started Dollar Construction. I’ve been in real estate fully 2010, but I’ve been doing government contracts before then.
I started Dollar Construction in Abuja. Our first project was a disaster. it was a housing project at Lugbe . I finished a project in Keffi, the Police Housing Scheme and the Road Safety Co-operative Housing at Masaka, the estate is named after Wole Soyinka. You know he started the FRSC in Nigeria. Immediately I finished at Keffi I started my own real estate at Lugbe, but it was demolished in 2013. It was already on completion stage, some people had moved in.
On the day of the demolition I was in Ibadan when I received the call, it was as if the world would end. But we thank God for where we are, we were able to scale the hurdle after many problems and issues.
I was taken to EFCC, ICPC, Police, but I kept telling them our intention was to provide houses. It was a lesson and we thank God we are still standing.
How do you see the real estate competition in Ibadan?
It can’t be as tough as that of Lagos and Abuja, and we are operating in both places. Like I told you we are different. We are not land sellers, we are a certified Real Estate company.