Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Purple Group, a real estate firm, Laide Agboola, has said the COVID-19-imposed challenges of year 2020 impacted negatively on the real estate sector.
He, however, said his company had been able to come up with unusual responses which helped it stay afloat during the challenging year for businesses.
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“The year had been a steep learning curve for many businesses as it showed the survival instincts of businesses in the face of unexpected economic disruptions.
“For Purple, the challenges led to a continuous reconfiguration of our capital structure, quick response to market changes and customer/partner changes to the market.
“Therefore, we have been able to test our products in the worst of market conditions both in 2016 and now in 2020. We continue to work towards maintaining our continuous confidence amongst our domestic and international alliances,” he said in an interview.
Agboola added that the firm’s major concern has been to assure investors their returns are achievable and how to deliver on the proposed assets amidst lockdowns and a contracting economy.
“Fortunately, our mixed use development products have been designed specifically for this market based on deep research analysis and as a response to the market both in 2016 and now validated as the appropriate product for our Nigerian market even in 2020,” he said.
Asked if the challenges in 2020 affected the company’s occupancy rate for Purple Maryland, one of its flagship properties in Lagos, he said “At Purple, our relationship with our tenants/partners and the growth of their businesses remain paramount.
“This has made those partners remain with us despite the several economic issues.”
According to him, the group has continuously prioritised brand awareness, and marketing with an unusually lower priced rental regime derived from lower priced building strategy supported by smaller fit for purpose spatial planning.
“This has been our strategy in maintaining our 97 per cent occupancy level. Albeit, this has not been without some sort of grant period in 2020.
“It has been an unusual year and has required us to deliver unusual responses tailor-made across our partners to arrive at sustainable businesses within our built environment going forward.
He stressed that experiences of year 2020 have also reinforced their belief in mixed use retail strategy, focusing on essential services and domestic retailers, who are flexible and have shown adaptability to the peculiarities of the Nigerian property market.
Speaking further, Agboola said the strategy for forging ahead in 2021 is to improve the end user’s lifestyle and experience by delivering world standard real estate assets that continue to be viable and impactful.
“Hence our enhanced focus on the lifestyle development of our consumers by accelerating our natural evolution from pure brick and mortar centres to include our online market place.
“The online market, purple.shop, includes all our in-store retailers and a well curated selection of new vendors, who we have vetted and trust to deliver high quality products and services to our customers.
“In addition, as an improvement to customers’ lifestyles, we have also launched new products like Nano apartments that tackle some of the long-held issues in the residential, short and long stay space.
“We have commenced construction of these Nano apartments in Lekki Phase 1 and would be delivering more to our mainland customer base starting in 2021,” he added.