Multi-billion hospitality real estate shrinks over T.B Joshua’s death

  • Investors put assets for sale, convert others into residential

By Onyebuchi Sampson

The once thriving multi-billion Naira hospitality real estate market in Ikotun, a Lagos suburb and its environs shrunk just ten months after the demise of the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua.

Investors are now putting assets near the church premises for sale to meet contractual obligations as the once lively city has gradually turned into a ghost community. Many have also capitalised on the huge housing deficits in the area to convert their hotels into residential apartments.

It was also learnt that many outlets including hotels, eateries, convenient stores and business centres have all closed shop for lack of patronage. Owners of hotels in Ikotun area of Lagos said they decided to put their assets on sale as businesses seem to have gone along with the founder of the Church.

For instance, the popular Victoria Continental Hotel has been sold, while Hymax Grace Hotel and Suites, Glorious Hotel and Suites have all retrenched over 100.

A former staff of Hymax Glorious said before his disengagement, that the company struggled to get two guests a night against over 100 guests that used to lodge in the facility a night.

Also, a former worker at the 100-room Hymax Grace hotel, said the management retrenched workers when they couldn’t afford to pay salaries anymore.

“People were no longer lodging in the hotel. The main customers were people from the church,” she said.

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Confirming this development, an estate surveyor and values, Michael Ajie said two hotels are on sale in the area. He stressed that business owners are not only selling their properties but relocating, while resilient ones are converting their property for other uses.

Ajie said the owner of Sweet Saviour hotel just bought a piece of land behind the church to expand the business, but development activities have remained stagnant since the Prophet died.

He said: “Victoria Continental hotel and suites just sold their building because no customer was coming, De Lodge will soon sell their hotel and Glorious hotel.

“I can confirm to you that since the death of T.B Joshua customers that enter those hotels are not up to 50.

“Many other chalets have converted their lodge back to houses because they were expecting that the current pastor, Madam Evelyn Joshua would open the church for members and our businesses would be back. But it has not been like that.”

Apart from hoteliers, recreational activities have gone down too due to the decline in patronage. For instance, Mrs Comfort Omenks, who owns one of the biggest bars in the area, said businesses have gone down drastically as customers have declined from 159 customers to ten daily. She regretted citing the business in that location, as she is unable to meet her financial obligations.

But few business owners are optimistic that normal activities will return after the first anniversary of Prophet T.B Joshua’s death. They, however, called for revamping of infrastructure in the area to boost real estate for those willing to convert their hotels to residential apartments, since the housing deficit in Lagos is still huge.

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