In IBADAN right now, everyone is talking about Dollar Construction, one of the leading Real Estate companies in the country. The big news is that the company is run by a young businessman, Idowu Lamidi, is presently working on 105 units of housing estate in the Jericho/Idi-Ishin GRA Area of town.
Below, he reveals his winning strategies
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 105 units of housing estate in Jericho Idi-Ishin GRA.
We provide top-class quality services to clients with interest and uphold the ethical and quality values of the engineering profession with a mission to be the trailblazer 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.
Let’s 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 units 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 to come 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 a 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 lands. We build estates. What we have here in Ibadan before our coming is 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 it’s 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 land and tell people to come and build, that in clear terms is not real estate but a community. 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, it’s 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 staff, 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 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 estates 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, 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 an 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 I looked up to and he made me believe it’s 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 in 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 after I finished at Keffi I started my own real estate at Lugbe, but it was demolished in 2013. It was already on the 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.
We have noticed that many celebrities in Ibadan have taken interest in your housing projects. Why is this so?
It’s not only in Ibadan, people have been coming from different parts of the country. Like I said in a meeting recently, Ibadan is a strategic city. It’s a beautiful place with history and people that are so accommodating.
Before we came to Ibadan, we had various consultations and picked four cities that are strategic in the Southwest. Interestingly Ibadan is the choice of everyone. This is a city an ancient cultural history, political history and also in terms of development and facilities, Ibadan has an advantage with the Cocoa House, Premier Hotel, IITA, Bowers Tower and other notable scenery around the city.
And as you know, people come from everywhere to live in Ibadan, the people here are so welcoming. So these are things we at Dollar Construction considered before we decided to site our new project here.
Another reason why people, I won’t call the celebrities. The people that visited here and showed interest are mostly politicians and business people. These are people I mostly read about in the news and I’ve never met. But what I like is the satisfied look on their faces every time they come around and see what we are doing.
The logic is simple, these are people who have travelled far and wide, they’ve been to different parts of the world and also toured the country and they know they’ve not seen something like this in this part of our country.
Lagos is becoming over-populated, Abuja is a free city, so people that understand Real Estate know Ibadan to be the next Dubai and they are wise to invest.
Tell us about the ongoing projects in Ibadan, what are the shapes and sizes?
In total, it’s 105 units of houses located at Idi-Ishin, Jericho area of Ibadan. We have the 2000 square metres, those buying this will bring their designs, we also have the 700 square metres for a 5-bedroom duplex that includes a swimming pool, there is 600 square metres for four-bedroom duplex and 450 square metres for 3-bedroom duplex.
We played with a lot of space and I find it amusing when people come and they were like ‘wow! is this the size of a bedroom?’. These are what you can’t get in Lagos or somewhere else, so I consider that as a huge advantage.
Are Ibadan elites ready to buy houses like those in Lagos and Abuja?
The main factor you need to consider when you ask that question is one. Are there still choice locations in Lagos and Abuja anymore? What you see is people digging deeper and giving strange names to dignify where they live.
Our project in Ibadan is in a central location, you can access our estate from different parts of the city.
We are not outside Ibadan, we are within the city. You can’t have beautiful structures like this in remote areas. Who doesn’t want to live in Ibadan?
To be honest with you, when you go round Ibadan and discover the prices of properties and rents, you would see a slight difference. Ibadan is the new deal. People would tell you they love the city, it’s peaceful. Who doesn’t want to live where it’s peaceful? We just need to work on the facilities and take the city to where it should be. Do you know the story of Magodo in Lagos? When they first started selling the lands, people were laughing. Now they are buying even the water-locked part of the area.
What are the new incentives you have introduced to attract new customers?
We don’t plan incentives. We are not land sellers that will tell you ‘buy this land and get a ram’. No! Real Estate is a serious business. Our only incentive to attract people are the facilities we have. We are sourcing our own electricity by building a dam inside the estate. We are also providing our own water, roads, security and a lot of other recreational facilities, these are what we call incentives. We know the value of our projects and we know what it yields periodically. This is an investment. A house you buy for a million naira today must sell for 5 million in about two years. That’s what Real Estate is all about, it’s a big business and not just selling of lands and properties at Moniya.
The Dollar Estate in Ibadan has an independent source of 3 megawatts of hydro, there is 500 KVA solar, 500 KVA gas turbine, 63 points of CCTV cameras, power bikes patrol of the estate, tarred roads, gas supply to each house, drinkable water plant and water system to each house, intercom linking the gate to each house…in short, it’s going to be a paradise, and I’m sure these facilities are enough to attract people.
What makes Dollar Construction different from other real estate companies?
What sets us apart is the quality of work we render to our clients, We don’t deviate from the core standard of engineering construction and we do not compromise standards. We abide by and follow the tenets of construction as well as the rules and regulations. Again our staffs are well trained and certified. They can work in all departments of the company, they can function in construction, marketing, adverts, sales because they are wholly trained and understand the dream of the company.
Again at Dollar Construction, there is no employer/employee structure. You won’t know the security from the Director, we all work at the site and we enjoy doing that and we joke about it.
How can interested customers buy and benefit from your projects?
We have emails, telephone numbers people can call and also our website www.dollarconstruction.net. Thanks