Global Insights – EKO ATLANTIC

P-THREE is a European property consultancy and agency business with a global perspective, which specialises in ultra mixed use developments. We look at everything first from the point of view of people, the consumer. With CV19 dominating the news and restricting travel, we thought for a change, we would bring you some global insights over the next five weeks which are informative in terms of property development trends and identify how these are being shaped by changing demands of consumers, occupiers and business.

This week we are talking about the retail property market in Africa, which like Thailand featured last week, often flies under the radar in terms of retail property news reporting.

When you think about people, the statistics for Africa are immense. The population has more than doubled in the last thirty years to 1.1 billion and is projected to hit 2 billion by 2040. The population is not only growing, it is increasingly urban with over 40% living in cities. One of the fastest growing cities is Lagos with the population estimated at 21 million people.

The African Development Bank estimate 350 million people are classified as middle class in Africa. Approximately 70% of Africans are currently under the age of 30. This gives rise to a vast group of brand aware and technology hungry consumers looking for greater sophistication in their consumption.

The real estate trend is therefore towards bigger and higher quality developments containing a broader range of uses, experiences, medical facilities, learning opportunities and where possible embracing tourism. As the development pipeline grows, differentiation will be key. A good example of this is the Castle Gate development by Atterbury in east Pretoria on 60 hectares which is a new breed of open air multi use projects combining retail, offices, medical facilities, gym, 1,100 residential units and a hotel.

But vision and ambition are driving other projects at a much bigger scale. The planned Oceans Mall project in Durban is one such example. This scheme is to include Platinum Walk which is for international and luxury brands which would place it among the top three retail destinations in South Africa along with Cape Towns V&A Waterfront and Johannesburg’s Sandton City. Oceans Mall will be an ultra mixed use development including a Radisson Blu hotel , 600 hundred apartments, luxury retail, a supercar showroom, and SA’s first snow park.

For unbridled ambition however, look no further than Eko Atlantic, a new coastal city being built on Victoria Island adjacent to Lagos, billed as the new economic capital of Africa and comprising 10 million square meters. The Eko Atlantic mall will comprise 107,500 square meters, the largest shopping, eating and entertainment centre in West Africa.

With the economies of Thailand and Africa sharing much in common in the growth of the “urban middle class”, we should look out for more examples of world class development from these countries in the future.