Booming plazas of real estate investment in Kano

JThe ancient city of Kano in Kano State is witnessing rapid development in the real estate market, especially in places that are being built up almost everywhere.

There is practically no street in the metropolis that has not been equipped with a shopping center in the last two years. Even Government Reserved Areas (GRAs), which are statutorily residential, now have spaces; a development that has left many locals worried as it turns almost every part of the city into a marketplace.

Notable streets in Kano that have witnessed this increase in plaza construction include Zoo Road, Zaria Road, BUK Road, Katsina Road, Airport Road, Hadejia Road and Hotoro on Maiduguri Road.

The situation is undoubtedly a sign of a booming real estate market, but the cost of renting shops or office space in shopping centers has become a challenge for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); some have gone out of business due to their inability to pay the high rents of the flashy buildings.

Many SMEs have reportedly closed their doors or moved to suburban areas where rents are relatively affordable. On the other hand, the squares have attracted many businesses and provided employment opportunities for many young people, as well as created clusters of small businesses in and around them.

But with the high cost of renting shops in these new places, Daily Trust gathered this majority remained empty.

Jibrin Abdullahi, a real estate agent in Jaba, one of Kano’s developing and expensive areas, said government officials, wealthy individuals and companies have since realized how lucrative the business is, hence the huge investments in “this aspect of the real estate sector”. ”

Abdullahi said, “One key thing about building a square is that it is a long-term investment; its value always appreciates. So there’s nothing wrong if you don’t make any money up front. If you build a place today and just sell it in the next five to 10 years, you will get back the money you bought the land with, the money you spent building it, and you will also get profit.

“For developers, the construction of a place is not always synonymous with rapid and interesting returns on investment; rather, it’s about having a safe haven to store wealth while avoiding keeping cash or investing it in other high-risk ventures.

Alhaji Muhammad Abdulazeez Lawan, who recently built a square in the city of Kano, shared his experience with Daily Trust.

He said, “For me, building the square is not a quick buck, but a long-term investment. It is a multi-year investment and you will receive amounts on an annual basis; which is another form of business.

Explaining why the cost of shops in the plazas is exorbitant and beyond the reach of most businesses, the business tycoon said it depends on the location of the plaza, but noted that the cost of land and building materials construction contributed to development.

He explained that “nowadays, if you want to build a square, you have to close your eyes because it costs a lot of money; from buying the land to building materials and people working in different aspects of construction. So it’s not easy at all, and you know we don’t get our money back easily. We are talking about spending 200 to 300 million naira, but a store will be rented at 200 or 300 thousand naira.

Alhaji Kabiru Umar Shittu said he built his place on Ahmadu Bello Way because he was asked to vacate his shop inside Singer Market due to heritage issues.

He said: “I believe one of the reasons places are on the rise is the risk of losing business. I spent more than 20 years in my old store and gained a lot of wealth and customers. But after the owner of the shop dies, his children decide to sell the property. The person who bought the place asked us to leave. That’s how I lost some of my big clients. But as I had the means, I bought land, built my place and I occupy several shops there. I now have my shops and stores in one place. The remaining stores have been leased.

Meanwhile, many small business owners said the arrival of the Squares has opened up opportunities for them to expand their businesses, noting that the stores, although expensive, have forced them to adapt to modern business trends that were more profitable.

Bashir Abdullahi El-Bash, who has two offices in Al-Hamsad Tower on Zoo Road, said running the two places was not easy, but in return he got everything he needed to run his businesses, noting that he even employed other people.

He said, “This place is good and expensive. Every year I have to pay N250,000 for each of the stores. It’s aside the money for the light. Every day I have to pay N700 for every store just to have light because I have air conditioners, while those who only have fans pay N350 per day.

“So it’s not easy unless your business is running. One of my offices is for my blogging business and the other is a photography studio. I’ve seen a lot of people who have created businesses here but had to close the stores because they couldn’t afford to pay them.”

Daily Trust further found that despite some of the places remaining empty for many years, landlords have no fear as they are certain that the investment is meant to last for a long time, while some are expected to keep their places for politicians to rent during election seasons.

A real estate agent, Kabiru Bala, said: “Recently we wanted to rent a place for a politician to use as his campaign office, and the landlord said we had to pay 100 million naira for two years. We left and looked for another. You know that it is risky to rent your place to politicians for fear of attacks; that is why they give them at high rates. Some will even say no, that their places are not intended for politicians.