The most important connections for business tenants will be those with the global network of 750,000 entrepreneurs that make up the World Trade Centers Association. “One of the missions of WTC Abuja is to improve trade relations between Nigeria and the rest of the world,” Vinay Mahtani, CEO of the site’s developer, Lagos-based Churchgate Group, told CNN. “For example, it will enable international businesses to make investments in our community. Ties will be forged between government agencies, non-governmental organizations and international corporations, and the additional business that is captured within the walls of the World Trade Center will provide tax revenues to government which can be used to improve the welfare of the people.”
According to CNN, Abuja has added to its prestigious land map a new world-class building. The country’s capital is now home of the newest World Trade Center complex. The first World Trade Center was inaugurated in 1970 in New York City, Nigeria’s will be opened to the public in early 2016, immediately after the first phase of construction is completed and will join a network of 323 locations in 89 countries.
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The World Trade Center Abuja will be the largest mixed-use development in West Africa and the structure is funded by local and foreign financial institutions, as well as private investors, to an estimated N200 billion. The building which has been under development since 2010, spans over six million square feet in the Central Business Area of the capital. Its location offers easy access to the city center and the airport, with a dual-carriage highway surrounding the site and a new light rail system currently under construction.
From the onset Abuja was created to be Nigeria’s capital city, the same way Brasilia was built for Brazil and Canberra for Australia. Its physical location in the middle of the country is a good metaphor for its neutral role of unity. It is now the fourth largest urban area in Nigeria, with impressive growth rates and poses as the best location for the country’s World Trade Center. With strong growth rates in recent years, Nigerian economy is flourishing, even though its reliance on oil exports – the country is Africa’s largest producer and the sixth in the world — makes it susceptible to the volatile nature of that market. This is one of the so many reason why the idea of having a trade center in Nigeria was bought and implemented
The construction of the two towers representing the trade center has gone through several design phases, construction challenges, before arriving at its present state. “For example certain areas of the project have had to be redesigned as we repositioned ourselves in order meet the ever-changing consumer and market needs. We have also faced logistical issues such as congestion in the ports, which has meant our building materials arrived at site behind schedule,” said Mahtani.
Construction is now nearing the end of the first phase, which comprises the residential and commercial towers. The former will offer luxury apartments with modern amenities, while the latter will accommodate businesses of various sizes, with offices ranging from 100 to 1,440 square meters. The buildings, at 24-storeys each, are set to define the capital’s skyline: the Commercial Tower is the tallest office building in Abuja, while the Residential Tower is the tallest residential building in Nigeria. In future, there will be constructions of a shopping mall and a 37-storey hotel, which will be among the tallest skyscrapers in the continent.
Nigerians will benefit from this new development as well as face a few downsides attached to it. Adekunle Salau, Ernst & Young Advisory Leader for West Africa, told CNN, “There is no doubt that Abuja and Lagos will benefit tremendously from high-end commercial and residential real estates. My expectation is that if this is executed to plan, Abuja will be able to host world-class conferences and compete favorably with Johannesburg and Cape town for international events.”
“It may also moderate the cost of hotels and rents in Abuja, but more importantly it should add significantly to the economic development of the capital, creating employment in the service and retail sectors. “The downside is that it can also be artificially priced, thereby continuing heat up the already high cost of Abuja properties and secondly, the amenities may not be developed to the quality expected from the WTA brand,” said Salau. This is obviously more of a positive plan than negative, so Nigerians embrace the New World Trade Center and anticipates its launch come the year 2016.