…renovation to be completed before May 2023
By Adeola Badru
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Wednesday, leased the popular Agbowo Shopping complex, Ibadan to Whitestone Global Limited for 50years, adding that the renovation would be completed before May 2023.
The governor, while speaking at flag-off of the renovation, reconstruction, and remodeling of the structure, said many administrations have tried unsuccessfully to renovate the facility, disclosing that the lease which would see the investor injecting N4.9billion was expected to convert the moribund structure into premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel.
Makinde boasted that what the past administration could not do right in eight years, he would deliver in two years concerning the 36 years old structure.
The governor said: “Shortly after our inauguration in May 2019, I hosted the council members and management team of the University of Ibadan in my office. One of the issues we discussed was the moribund Agbowo Shopping Complex. I promised them I would make a definitive pronouncement about what we would do with the complex before the end of my one hundred days in office.”
“Well, in keeping with that promise, within our 100 days in office, we opened a bid for concessionaires giving a four-week window from August 29-September 26, 2019. And today, we are flagging off the remodeling and renovation of the new Agbowo Shopping Complex.”
“At one time, this mall was the biggest shopping mall in Oyo State which not only generated income for the government but also provided thousands of direct jobs for the citizenry. In its heydays, it had a massive arts and film theatre hall, department stores, night club, and several large offices. It was one of the visions of the late Chief Bola Ige led administration which served as a unique economic hub.”
“Previous administrations have tried and failed to renovate this complex. For example, the last administration said they signed an MOU with a development company. They were to embark on the “remodeling, redeveloping, and rehabilitation of Agbowo Shopping Complex” for N8billion to be completed in 30 months. However, the project never saw the light of day.”
“But something they could not do in eight years; we are doing in under two years. Also, by the Grace of God, we will have this complex completed within our tenure. We have taken the time to do our due diligence. The Oyo State Government will be working with Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd. Our collaboration will be in the form of a long lease concession with a capital injection of N4.9Billion.”
“Their mandate is to convert this moribund structure into premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel. The long lease is for fifty years.”
“Our administration understands that the only business that the government should have in business is to create a conducive environment and the needed support for private enterprises to thrive. And this is what we are doing.”
“You will readily agree that the injection of N4.9 Billion into the Oyo State economy is an economic stimulus in the short term which will translate to broader benefits in the long run.”
“The process of selecting the concessionaires was also transparent. As everyone knows, the days of getting contracts from the government solely because a person knows the governor is in the past. I make bold to say that the PPP mechanism of the state has been re-engineered for effectiveness.”
“And so, in 24 months, that is 104 weeks, this complex will be ready for business. Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd has given us this assurance.”
“And on this note, I flag-off the remodeling and renovation of the new Agbowo Shopping Complex to the Glory of God and the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.”
Earlier in his remark, the Chairman, Oyo State Housing Corporation, Mr. Bayo Lawal, said at commissioning, the multi-story building strategically located opposite the premier University of Ibadan offered facilities including 84 shopping units, 10-story building and banking halls, three departmental stores, a cafeteria, night club, 540-seaters cinema theatre, and 15 groceries shops.
Lawal noted that unlike other structures, the Agbowo Shopping complex had been neglected by successive governments to the extent that by 2012, the facility had become totally moribund, fetching negative revenue to the coffers of the government.
Speaking on behalf of tenants operating in the facility, Mr. Olajide Abiola commended Makinde’s determination and political will to remodel the complex.
While appealing for speedy completion of the project, Olajire noted that over 500 people made up of retirees, graduates, traders have the means of livelihood solely depending on the complex.
The event had in attendance top government functionaries, members of the state house of assembly, residents, religious leaders among others