EKO ATLANTIC CITY: The Rise of a 21 Century City in Africa?


The great cities of New York, London, Paris, Sydney, Buenos Aries, Dubai,
and Hong Kong are known all over the world. Each has its own character, its
distinctive architecture, and its famous landmarks. Within the next decade,
the new city of Eko Atlantic will take its place among them, famous for its
unique position on reclaimed land currently under the ocean off Victoria
Island in Lagos, Nigeria.

Eko Atlantic will be a well planned, sustainable, well designed and efficiently
run modern urban masterpiece. It will be an exemplar for city living in the
21st century. Rising from land the size of Manhattan that is being taken back
from the Atlantic Ocean, the city will have six million square metres of prime
development plots for sale. Eko Atlantic will be home to quarter of a million
people who will work in the bustling financial and commercial hub and live in
the pleasant tree-lined or waterfront residential districts. Another 100,000
will commute in each day from neighbouring Lagos using the well connected
transport links. “We predict that Eko Atlantic will be one of the most modern
and dynamic cities in Africa, perhaps in the world,” says Bernard Bridi,
Marketing and Communications Director of South Energyx, Nigeria Limited,
the development company responsible for making Eko Atlantic a reality.

The vast groundworks on which the cities foundations will be built are well
under way. Already, a large portion of land that was torn away from the
coastline by the power of the Atlantic surge has been recovered and now
measures in excess of one million square metres. Extending a mile and a
half out in the Atlantic Ocean, the city will face the waves, secure behind the
protective barrier of the extensive Great Wall of Lagos, eventually to be 7
kilometres long.

A Desperate Need for Eko Atlantic

Eko Atlantic is not an urban design showpiece; it will fulfil a real and
important need in Africa. The need for new urban breathing space in
chronically overcrowded Victoria Island and Lagos is now urgent. Victoria
Island was originally intended to be a suburban housing area, but in recent
years, it has become the nation’s financial capital as commercial giants and
multinationals have moved in. The area has become the financial centre of
West Africa, creating opportunity and wealth but also generating intense
competition for land and building space.

Lagos is now the world’s fastest growing major city. Estimates say that it will
be home to 25 million people by 2015, making it the fourth most densely
populated metropolis in the world. Although Lagos and Victoria Island may
be the financial heartbeat of West Africa today, the heart itself is struggling
to cope. Its infrastructure and amenities can barely keep up with the heavy
and frequent influx of residents and visitors. “We have inadequate water
supplies and unreliable power and too much traffic, but people have to come
here to do business,” says one experienced businessman who represents a
Saudi company. The scarcity of land means that real estate values soared
and vital business and commercial opportunities were lost.

Turning Things Around

In order to protect Victoria Island from further erosion, Hi-Tech, a subsidiary
of The Chagoury Group, was commissioned to develop a permanent
shoreline protection plan for Bar Beach, a front line in the battle against the
advances of the sea.

It was discovered that the only workable solution was to build a new and
effective sea defence system to take back that land on which our ancestors
walked, using it to create the space to expand and prosper. Eko Atlantic will
not only protect the vital core of Victoria Island, it will relieve overcrowding,
providing new areas for business, commerce and for people to live,
enjoyably and sociably.

A Privately Funded Project

Eko Atlantic is unique because it is funded entirely by private investment
with private equity and loans from financial institutions, led by First Bank,
FCMB and GT Bank on the local level. Internationally, BNP Paribas Fortis has
partnered with South Energyx Nigeria, the developers and city planners of
Eko Atlantic which is also a subsidiary of The Chagoury Group, a company
that has been doing business in Nigeria for over 30 years. The Chagoury
Group has a successful track record for completing challenging projects
such as Banana Island in Lagos and the National Assembly building in the
federal capital. South Energyx Nigeria Ltd has been licensed by Lagos State
to develop Eko Atlantic. Its associates include Royal Haskoning, a world
class Dutch company that has been involved in safety assessment plans,
design and construction, flood management, marine works and city planning
for over 120 years. They are providing extensive architectural, engineering
and environmental expertise that Lagos needs to build its new world-class
city. The Belgian company, Dredging International a leader in its field,
shoulders the responsibility for harvesting and replacing the sand to build
the foundations for Eko Atlantic.

Commitment to Sustainability

“The design of the new city reflects our responsibility to the environment.
This will be a sustainable city, clean and energy efficient with minimal
carbon emissions,” stresses David Frame, Managing Director of South
Energyx Nigeria Limited.

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project is already with
the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and the Federal
Ministry of Environment and Urban Development. The construction process
will use eco-friendly and local materials wherever possible. Space will be
used wisely. Roof top gardens will provide green, restful shady places
that will also collect rain water. And by making use of solar energy, solar
powered air conditioning systems and energy efficient buildings Eko Atlantic
will be a shining example of a modern, yet sustainable city.

The Great Wall of Lagos

Work on constructing the Great Wall of Lagos, a seven-kilometre defence
system has been in progress for the past year. Its first job has been to
protect the shoreline of Victoria Island from further erosion. As it has
lengthened – and work is advancing it by up to 8 metres each day – it has
created a calm lagoon within which dredging continues. This will continue
so that the wall can protect the newly reclaimed land from the currents,
surges and ocean tides. The growth of the Great Wall looks deceptively
simple but this is a major feat of 21st century engineering. The wall has
been designed and tested by the Danish Hydraulic Institute, a company with
an unparalleled reputation for ocean defence systems. Rigorous testing and
modelling has shown that the wall will withstand the worst Atlantic swell
likely to occur in the next 100 or more years.

The Rise of a 21 Century City in Africa

The land on which Eko Atlantic will be built is rising from the sea in a
relatively short timescale over approximately six years. The land reclamation
work will spread across three distinct phases. Work on the first phase is now
well under way and this will be the site of the Eko Atlantic Financial Centre,
a jewel in the crown of this great city. Eko Atlantic will be an exceptional
development – the only city of its kind in Africa. It will be in a prime
position, adjacent to Victoria Island and convenient for Ikoyi, Lekki and Epe.
Transport links will be fast and convenient with four access roads linking up
with the Lagos highway system. The planners have carefully calculated the
traffic volumes expected when the city is fully operational – and designed
the road system to cope easily.

The new city will thrive on its independently owned and operated
infrastructure. Uninterrupted power generation will be guaranteed; no
reliance on generators! Clean water will flow through the city from a
dedicated treatment plant. Eko Atlantic will also have its own sewage system
for maintenance and removal, making health and cleanliness a priority. A
state-of-the-art telecommunications system based on fibre-optic technology
will supply Eko Atlantic with a modern telephone, cable TV and internet
system. Short journeys will not take hours as they often do in Lagos;
the street parking ban will keep the traffic flowing freely along the clear,
wide boulevards and the 100km road network. Developers must provide
basement parking to accommodate all residential vehicles and there will
be enough multi level car parks for commuters. Public transport will also
be a central feature of city life with an eco-friendly 20 kilometre waterway
transportation system and a 60-stop public light rail system. The amenities
of Eko Atlantic will be reliable, dependable; so different to what people in
Lagos have come to expect.

A New Financial Hub

Eko Atlantic will become the new financial, commercial and business hub
of Nigeria and West Africa as a whole. The project will have such a positive
impact on Lagos, allowing it to reach its potential instead of battling with
overcrowding and the threat of erosion. Throughout the project’s lifetime,
thousands of jobs will be created. Eko Atlantic will transform the way West
Africa does business.

The Seven Districts of Eko Atlantic

The central Financial District will feature imposing architecture including a
ring of spectacular towers that make up the stand alone development of
the Financial Centre which will house a world-class conference centre and
stock exchange. Eko Atlantic’s skyscrapers and towers will create a new
and memorable skyline. Many of the buildings, including some of the tallest
towers in Africa, will be visible from ships sailing in the Atlantic Ocean, as
well as from Lagos itself. Easy access from the highway network will provide

excellent links between this district of Eko Atlantic and the current financial
centres in Lagos City and Victoria Island. Like other districts, residential
apartments will be at penthouse level, with shops, restaurants and social
areas at street level.

Ocean Front will stretch along the coastline for around seven kilometers with
breathtaking views over the Atlantic providing pleasant waterfront walks
and inspiring places to relax and meet friends. The waterfront will feature
a rich mix of shops, restaurants, green spaces, seated areas, water sports
activities and other leisure amenities. Bold landscaping will add character
with tree-lined streets and lush green gardens. The Eko Tramway is also
within easy reach of everyone who will be living, working or visiting this
district. A spectacular tram ride along the entirelength of Ocean Front by day
or night will be an unforgettable experience for all to enjoy in Eko Atlantic.

The exclusive Harbour Lights lies between two dominant features in Eko
Atlantic: Point Lagos at the south western tip of the city and the towering
Financial District to the north. The skyline will dominate this sector of the
Eko Atlantic cityscape with a road bridge that will cross the harbour entrance
to link with the city of Lagos. In a prime position where the ocean meets
the lagoon, Harbour Lights will buzz with energy, providing an international
setting for professionals and tourists.

Eko Drive will also contain a mixture of commercial and residential
development and will face north, towards Victoria Island with the Financial
District to the west. As well as the 8-lane highway, residents of Eko Drive
will be able to travel to other parts of the city using the convenient Eko
Waterway. To slow the pace of life, plots close to the waterway will be
reserved for pedestrians, bordered by pleasant walkways and sculptured

The Marina district will span the eastern side of Eko Atlantic, forming a prime
development area close to the main highway and the Eko Waterway. The

marina itself will offer multiple berths for marine craft, so these plots of real
estate will be highly sought after. Boat owners can enjoy the quiet waters of
the internal city waterway or set a course for the ocean itself. A large plot of
land adjacent to the marina will be reserved for public activity, with plenty of
space for recreation and relaxation.

Avenues is a distinctive district adjacent to Eko Drive to the north, Ocean
Front to the south and Downtown to the west. This is the geographical
centre of Eko Atlantic. Avenues will have prominent green boulevards that
will sweep through the large proportion of residential property in this district
but there will also be plots for shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, giving
Avenues a cosmopolitan feel.

Downtown will be encircled by Ocean Front, Harbour Lights, the Financial
District and Avenues. It will become a densely built-up sector with varying
sizes of buildings set in tree-lined streets with elegant squares. Downtown
will provide the opportunity to develop land for some fine homes, offering an
envious style of city life within easy access of the financial hub of the city.

International Recognition for Eko Atlantic

In September 2009, the Clinton Global Initiative, a forum dedicated to
discussion and collaboration among world leaders, business executives,
heads of NGOs, philanthropists and other activists, to tackle pressing
challenges facing the global community, gave a stamp of premium
recognition to Eko Atlantic. This confirms its status as the most ambitious
environmental project ever to be undertaken in Nigeria. In reading of
the project’s citation, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times highlighted
the joint commitment of the Government of Lagos State and South
Energyx “against the devastating effect of the Atlantic Ocean.”

This recognition will grow as the city itself develops. Eko Atlantic will be
a city of culture, an international business centre, a clean, efficiently run
environment to live and work. The new, younger and beautiful face of Lagos.

Eko o ni baje o!

Leave a reply