In this article, Peter Sunday explores new global trends in residential housing development and how Victoria Crest Homes, a Nigerian real estate brand is rising up to these changes with innovations.
The concept of housing is completely changing almost at the speed of light. The real estate industry has recently been impacted in ways never seen before by the demands of increasingly discerning buyers. Responsive developers are adapting to these changes and turning them to opportunities through innovation around energy efficiency, renewable energy, technologically enhanced features, and community-oriented initiatives.
One of such real estate firms in Nigeria blazing the trail is Victoria Crest Homes (VCH), a respected property brand with a vision to make luxury living affordable. VCH is one of the major brands in the Nedcomoaks group which has diverse successful businesses leading in various sectors including property development, facilities management, and technology. 2021 was a tremendous year for this property development pacesetter, culminating in a series of innovative and altruistic initiatives that indicate its focus on positioning itself as a sustainable corporate brand. It was no surprise therefore, that a major newspaper listed Dr Kennedy Okonkwo as one of ‘the most Impactful and Award-winning CEOs that contributed to Nigeria’s GDP growth in 2021’.
Known already for its Victoria series of residential estates amongst many others in the Lekki area, VCH recently extended its signature quality housing solutions to the Sangotedo – Eleko axis of Lagos with the development of eco-friendly and renewable energy-powered mega estates such as Citadel Views behind Lagos Business School at Sangotedo and Capital Gardens at Idera, two minutes away from Lakowe Golf Course.
Known as the ‘Lagos Sustainable City’, the masterplan of Capital Gardens Estate includes a technology hub and an artificial lake in addition to the deployment of solar energy amidst other cutting-edge features. Citadel Views Estate on the other hand, is a technology-driven state of the arts sustainable housing project, with features such as solar energy solutions, gas-powered generators, biogas sewage treatment system, stealth security and waste recycling systems. Through these novel offerings, VCH is blazing the trail in promoting the idea that homes should enhance their residents’ capacity to increase productivity, efficiency and creativity.
Founded by Dr Kennedy Okonkwo in 1991, VCH was born under a humble beginning, but with a great dream to make aspirational living affordable to many. Two decades after, the firm has delivered thousands of homes to help in reducing the huge housing deficit in Lagos, one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Through the hardships of his early years, Okonkwo understood the role of access to appropriate shelter in stimulating prosperity and the importance of community support mechanisms in coping with social problems.
“We have always wanted our communities to be more than just a place to live but a place to experience and explore, a place to connect, share and make memories,” said Okonkwo.
Today, he is fulfilling his vision of building a better, more comfortable world through his Nedcomoaks conglomerate, driven by the belief that everyone deserves a befitting space to call home. Through innovative housing solutions, Nedcomoaks and its subsidiaries including VCH, are constantly pushing the boundaries in building modern and exquisitely comfortable homes that are sustainable and affordable for majority of Nigerians.
According to the property tycoon, right from the outset, he and his team worked hard to provide high quality but affordable housing solutions to various demographics, promoting sustainable living environments that deliver overall improved quality of life for residents and host communities. This vision propelled the firm from single housing unit developers in 1991 to its status today as one of Africa’s leading housing solutions providers, with wholesome housing estates offering a combination of affordable constant energy, tranquillity and sophisticated health promoting facilities.
Furthermore, in its quest to foster unity and promote fitness amongst its numerous estate residents, VCH started an initiative quite unique amongst real estate firms in Nigeria; it organises a massive annual sports tournament that can be likened to the Olympics for residents of all its estates. Dubbed ‘The Victoria Crest Olympiad’, the tournament consisted of various competitive games including table tennis, board games, athletics, and football amongst many others. Through the games, neighbours break down social boundaries to connect freely in the spirit of camaraderie. The firm also extends the game to its host communities through the Victoria Crest Community Cup with cash prizes awarded to winners.
According to Okonkwo, the Olympiad underscores the brand’s emphasis on not just building homes for people, but also building communities; environments where people can feel a sense of belonging.
While building communities, VCH is also working towards fostering inclusion in the African real estate market. This prompted the firm to launch the Women in Real Estate and Development (WIRED) Africa Network, an organisation aimed at galvanizing women to collectively make their voices heard and contribute towards a more successful and sustainable real estate industry.
Furthermore, the firm has begun to invest heavily in developing human capacity for Africa’s growing real estate industry. This has led to the creation of the Millennial African Property Developers (MAPD) Network Hub, an initiative dedicated to providing mentoring support for the development of future leaders in the African real estate industry.
Initiatives like the Victoria Crest Olympiad, WIRED and MAPD indicate the increasing importance of sustainability in real estate development in the post-Covid-19 era. According to the PwC report on emerging real estate trends in 2022, 82% of respondents in its recent survey say they consider Environmental, Social and Governance elements in making operational and investment decisions.
Through its sustainability-oriented initiatives and innovative housing solutions, Victoria Crest Homes has provided us a glimpse of how a real estate company can become positively immersed in the lives of its clients, converting them to not just advocates, but co-owners of the brand.
Peter writes from Lagos