It’s 5 PM at Victoria Island Lagos and the city traffic starts to build up as folks head home. For most, it’s the beginning of the tedious task of heading home to the other half of the city, however, for a certain fraction of the population, there’s not much difference where they live, work or play and this is doing a world of good to their mental and physical health.
Simply relayed, Live Work Play (LWP) describes an estate that co-opts work, entertainment & leisure as well as residential spaces. If you assume that you are a newbie to the Live Work Play idea, do a rethink. Real estate maestro, Rasak Okoya visualised this concept way back in the 90s through his Oloruninsola Estate. The need to steer off well-being perils like constant traffic, the desire to spend more quality time with family and to improve the way we live are among elements that are driving the development of the LWP lifestyle. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the ease of access and comfort that comes with these one- stop properties.
“…LWP has increasingly become a standard by which successful mixed-use developments are measured,” says Steve, Senior Vice President of Colliers International in Washington, D.C. It’s more than just about weighing the success of real estate developments anymore, it now has increased social implications as more and more millennials seek for a better quality of life than the generations that preceded them. The best work talents available are no longer settling for just fat pay cheques, as more attention is being paid to the quality of the work environment and the proximity to social resources. Companies, as a result, have added non-conventional work features like gyms and lounges to their office spaces to improve employee welfare and raise productivity.
Although the LWP movement started abroad, Africa is definitely part of the wave of urbanization with its rapidly growing population and fast-growing cities. As globalization sweeps the world over and with increasing access to information, better urban development cultures are being adopted. In the 90s, the idea of a Central Business District being separate from residential spaces was prevalent and homes were often in the suburbs of business centres. With a revolution in how we understand work and recreation, spaces incorporating work and leisure began to emerge. Mixed-use developments including residential spaces are the latest development in Nigeria and a very welcome one. The less energy expended in commuting to work, the more spirited and energized employees are to produce top-notch results and of course the less time utilised in commuting to and from work, the more time people have for themselves and their families.
One of Nigeria’s most desirable locations in Nigeria is Victoria Island, in no small part due to its versatility and sophistication. Victoria Island is home to many of the top corporate organizations based in Lagos and has top-notch modern utilities as well as leisure facilities. New developments in the area have adopted a live work play approach including the recently completed Centre Heights Project built by Cappa & D’alberto and managed by luxury realtors, Fine & Country. It features luxury apartments suitably located to give a delightful balance of leisure, residence and work.
Landmark Village, which is currently being constructed by A-list development firm, Landmark, is another LWP project well known for its breathtaking sea views in the exclusive area of Victoria Island. A cutting-edge, spacious 2,500-person events centre, an unparalleled Japanese Shiro restaurant and a vibey Hard Rock Café have already been completed. The stunning premises will encompass a 4-star luxury hotel, fully serviced extended stay apartments and upscale residences for sale, each offering a unique residential experience. A state of the art training centre and two extraordinary multi-tiered office building with over 20,000 m2 of dynamic office space are the final touches to the project.
Then there’s the Eko Atlantic. An impressive and state-of-the-art real estate masterpiece that highlights Lagos’ credentials as a modern megacity. It’s more than just a mixed-use development or a live work play project. It’s essentially a city within a city situated along Ahmadu Bello Way just kilometres off the notable Atlantic shores.
On the foreign landscape, in South Florida to be specific, urban hubs and projects like All Aboard Florida (Miami Central) is home to a healthy mix of commercial and residential uses, walkable streets, mass transit and a youthful vibe. Places like downtown Miami and downtown Fort Lauderdale have come alive with a surge in population growth over the past decade. As the economic rebound continues to take hold and South Florida expands its appeal as a top-tier target for new to market international and domestic firms, we are seeing newfound attention being paid to mixed-use real estate developments.
Likewise, the Camden Waterfront Project in New Jersey, which will cost approximately $1 billion and be completed in 2019 if fully realized is a prominent example of a potential LWP environment. The plan would create gigantic, modern office towers amongst residential developments and a bevvy of restaurants, retail storefronts and a hotel.
Back to the home front, mixed developments are not as pervasive in the country. Nigeria is in the infancy of its urbanization as a result, these new environments are still largely luxury real estate. Despite a seemingly growing paradigm shift in the youth percentage of the population, the larger portion of Nigerians – young and old – are still excluded financially and socially from such environments. The average Nigerian cannot afford the prices of the residential options and is culturally inclined to build their home rather than buy or rent consistently. The economic situation currently favours commuting majorly since housing is largely cheaper in the suburban areas and fringe locales of Lagos. The Live, Work, Play culture faces a stiff resistance to establishing itself in the country and it will be interesting to watch this trend to see how it develops.
The notion that the rise of mixed development is fostered by the demand for improved lifestyle is inarguable. In Nigeria, especially in highly urban locations like Lagos, security and population growth affect accessibility and transportation which powers a clear cut need for one stop real estates. Developers have, in turn, swept in to douse that need raising mixed developments. Nonetheless, the nature of Nigerians as being adventurous, spontaneous and easily bored can alter the success of this real estate trend as residents may begin to feel utterly confined. On the other hand, if such properties offer irresistible concessions incomparable with regular real estates, mixed developments may have a lasting impact. Afterall, if Okoya’s property firm could get it right after more than a decade, maybe others can as well.
…more millennials seek for a better quality of life than the generations that preceded them.
Despite what it seems, Live-work-play isn’t some new invention of real estate developers or urban planners. In fact, it’s something that we may not have realized we always wanted and just only recently started demanding.
Text: Temilolu Durojaiye