- Talks About His More Than 80 Projects In 11 Years
Otunba Yemi Lawal is one of the big property players in Lagos. Over the last 11 years, he has built up a huge property portfolio in the Oniru Estate area in Victoria Island, Lagos. He owns Seagle Property Development Company Limited.
Seagle Property is an urban real estate development, investment and management firm and it focuses on projects and real estate investments. It was incorporated on 28th May 2007 with Otunba Yemi Saheed Lawal, the Managing Director/CEO as the Chief Promoter. Seagle Property acquires real estate based upon its profit-making potential.
The company is a full service property management company, which includes leasing, rentals, and maintenance. It has’ an experienced and dedicated staff of property managers, leasing associates, maintenance and vendor managers and maintenance personnel.
It is also into real estate consulting and development. It provides full service consultation, which includes: creating financials, searching for real estate opportunities, and researching the best option for financing. We take you from the opportunity to the closing, he says.
It has an intimate understanding of the urban market place which allows it to recognise opportunities and generate value for our customers and investor clients.
Over the last year 11 years Seagle Property has done a lot of projects in Lagos beginning from 2007. That year it did 2 units of 6 bedroom house with a Penthouse – YL Court in Magodo GRA Lagos at N85 million in 2008, it did 4 unit of 4 bedroom + 1 boys quarters Terrace House called Seagle Terrace at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N260 million.
Then 12 units of 3 bedroom flats and 2 units of 4 bedroom flat – Seagle Towers Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N650 million in 2009, 4 unit of 4 bedroom + 1 Boys quarters Terrace House – Abbey Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N270 million in 2010. 8 units of 3 bedroom flats at Oniru – Seagle Apartments at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N360 million in 2010, 8 units of 3 bedroom flats at Oniru – Seagle Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N345 million in 2011, 1 unit of 7 bedroom house – Seagle Villa at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N175 million in 2011, 8 units of 3 bedroom flats – Finchley Court at Oniru at N350 in 2012.
In 2013, it constructed 12 units of 3 bedroom + 1BQ + Utility Room Luxury Flat + 4 units 2 bedroom + 1 4 bedroom Penthouse with 2 living rooms + 1BQ – Olayemi Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N750 million. 8 units of 3 bedroom + 1BQ + Utility room Luxury + a unit of 4 bedroom Penthouse – Oniru – Lammy Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N355 million also in 2013. 5 units of 4 bedroom Luxury Flat Oniru – Zenco Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N275 million also in 2013.
Other projects include: 20 units of 4 bedroom Terrace + a BQ – Sapphire Court at Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N1.550 billion in October 14. 8 units of 3 bedroom + 1 BQ + Utility room Luxury Flat + a block of 2 units 4 bedroom semi-detached house 2 living rooms + 1BQ – Ashby Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N510 million in December 2014, on going. 20 units of 3 bedroom + 1BQ + 2 units 4 bedroom Penthouse with 2 living rooms + 1BQ – Upper King Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N950 million in 2015, on going. 14 units of 3 bedroom + 1BQ + Utility room Luxury Flat +1 unit of 4 bedroom Penthouse with 2 living rooms + 1BQ – Olasumbo Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N550 million in October, on going. 17 units of 3 bedroom + 1 BQ + Utility Room Luxury Flat + 1 unit of 4 bedroom Penthouse with 2 living rooms + 1BQ – Ashake Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N720 million in October 14, on going. 17 units of 3 bedroom + 1BQ-Utility Room Luxury Flat + 5 office floor on 5 floors – Attlee Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N895 million in 2015, on going. 8 units of 5 bedroom semi detached house + BQ – Zero Luxury Suites in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N555 million in 2015, on going. 8 units of 5 bedroom semi detached house + BQ – Wally Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N530 million in 2015, on going. 3 units 6 bedroom semi detached house + BQ – Wolly Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N300 million in 2015, on going. 4 units 6 bedroom fully detached house + BQ – Igwilo Court in Oniru Estate VI Lagos at N350 million in 2015 on going. 2 units 6 bedroom fully detached house + BQ – Donald Court in Banana, Ikoyi Lagos at 450 million also in 2015. Many more are on going. He is one of the big players to be honoured at the City People Real Estate Awards this Sunday in Lagos. He spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about his projects.
You have been in real estate for the past 11 years. When you look back to the many projects you have completed within these years, how do you feel?
I feel happy. I am so happy. I can beat my chest and say I am an employer of labour. We have more than 200 people in our employ. We are creating Value. We have created jobs for some people.
We are building homes for people. It’s team work. I can’t do it all alone. I thank my suppliers, my clients, my contractors, everybody is happy. Both my workers and those who buy houses from us are happy. So, when I look back I am happy that I can also say I am contributing to the development of the economy in Nigeria and the GDP of the country.
We create value and we would continue to improve to be able to provide houses for the people in Lagos State. We thank God that we are part of those people adding to the development of homes and housing in Lagos. When I look back, I am happy that I have done something.
How many projects have you done in the last 11 years?
In the last 11 years we have done more than 80 projects, basically in Oniru, and Ikoyi. We have even executed projects on the Mainland. We are more present on the Island. The vision now is to go to Ikoyi and Victoria Island in Lagos.
You keep going on as if you are running a long distance race. You are not slowing down at all. What has kept you going?
I once I did stocks. I wanted to play there. I realised that it was too risky for me. I don’t like going into a business I don’t know anything about. It is not done the way it is done abroad.
The movement in the capital market as far as I am concerned, in Nigeria, does not rely on any fundamentals. The economy is not even stable. You can’t even plan. There are certain things that will happen in normal setting elsewhere that will make the price of shares to crash. But in Nigeria it does not work like that. So, when I lost the money. When I lost my investment in the stock exchange, I had to sit down and look at it all over again.
Is it a place I can put my money or resources into? But real estate is real. That is why it is called Real Estate. You can see it. It is real. The value creation is real.
What has kept me going is the fact that we are able to serve people. The fact that our patrons are happy. And the fact that we are growing and the fact that we have passion for what we are doing. When you have passion for something, you will keep moving on. That is one. Then two, Real Estate requires a much capital. And funding in Nigeria is very tough.
Basically, I am an Accountant and an Economist. So we do more or less, a lot of cash flow management. And we are not too greedy. Funding of real estate business by financial institutions in Nigeria is not really there. Nigerian banks go for short-term investments that will make them to easily recoup their profit. They are not really funding long term projects. So that has really affected the growth of the business loss of fund is also there.
By the grace of God, we have been able to manage that because of the strategy of cash flow management that we opted for As I said, we are not too greedy. We don’t go beyond our capacity that we may not be able to cope with because if you are doing projects more than you can cope with, it would affect deliverables. It will also affect the quality of projects we are doing. We are planning to partner with some companies outside Nigeria that can put some finishing touches to our work. The level of finishing we want is high and we are not there yet and we plan to be there.
Our area of concentration is the middle class level. Later, we plan to play in the lower level because there are much fund there. We have plans for the lower cadre. We are already talking to the Lagos State government to give us land at Epe axis to build large-scale small-scale or low-cost houses for the masses.
The Grace of God and a passion for what we are doing have helped us.
Let me take you back to your growing up years. Where were you born?
I was born December 18th, 1966. I was born at Mushin, but I grew up at Oshodi. During our own time, the economy was far, far, better than this. I can eat in any home. The owner of the next building can scold me. We didn’t have the kind of freedom that kids of today have.
You could go out then, nobody was afraid of anything. The kind of risks that we are exposed to now were not there then. In the whole street then you could only see one, TV station. I remember then, we were the only house on our street that had a television. So, everybody would come to our house to watch television.
We didn’t sit on the chair, we sat on the floor. There was so much respect and discipline then. And for somebody to discipline you, the person does not need to be your father. Teachers were more focused unlike now. Schools were well regulated. In our primary school then at Mushin Town Council Primary School, it was Oshodi, later it became Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Primary School. They used to give us meals in school.
They gave us what we used to call SAMCO. After meal, we have fruits. I was able to move from Oshodi to Lagos Island where I live now. My father used to send me on errands. Things have really changed. It was more fun then. Oshodi was so free. Water Corporation was working, ECN was working, everything was working then. Life was fun.
How come you didn’t allow living in Oshodi to slow you down from achieving your dreams.
Hmmm! Let me say this. Your background should not slow you down, or take you back. It should be a challenge to you and in the challenge are opportunities that will push you to greater heights.
My father wasn’t a poor man. My father had two houses in Lagos then. We lived alone in a storey building. We lived in the upper part and we had tenants on the ground floor.
But then, we still wanted to live better than the way we were brought up because we had some friends then, whose parents were rich and they were brought to school in cars.