Unlike the Palms in Victoria Island and Ikeja Mall, which were fully subscribed to off-plan, Ota mall is struggling to secure tenants, four months after its inauguration. Dayo Ayeyemi reports
Four months after an elaborate ceremony to commission The Palms Mall at Ota in Ogun State, over 75 per cent of the stores are still vacant, New Telegraph’s survey has shown. Except for some few brands such as Medplus Pharmacy, Inglot, Shoprite, Getalo, Mellaly, Max and Game Rendi, which have taken full position in the mall, many of the retail stores are still vacant.
This newspaper learnt that inability to secure more tenants in the mall might not be unconnected with the current economic recession in the country, which has reduced people’s purchasing power and investor confidence in retail malls.
The development of smaller malls is still going ahead as they are easier to accommodate on smaller urban land sizes, easier to finance and easier to let.
But newly completed malls are facing challenges of low trading numbers and slower space uptake.
Speaking with a member of management of the mall, who identified himself simply as Mayowa, he told our reporter that though one might see some of the stores under locks, many of them have been leased to individuals and firms.
According to him, some of the new tenants have not opened for business due to ongoing interior works.
“As you can see, some are doing sub-division of their stores while many are working on the water connection and wiring. Immediately they are through with these, they will open to people for business,” Mayowa said.
Further investigation revealed that the amount of money for space per square metre in the mall was beyond what people can cope with at the moment due to cash crunch.
According to Mayowa, the least rent space in the mall is 30 square metres while the highest is 60,000 square metres; per square metre of space costs N30,000 each.
By implication, anyone seeking space in the mall must be ready to pay N900,000 minimum, aside service charge, which encompasses power generation, general cleaning, waste disposal among others.
The expansive shopping mall is situated beside the moribund Gateway Hotel in Ota, a social economic class town, bordering Lagos and Ogun states.
Because of its unobstructed location, it is projected that the Palms Ota would get a massive population of shoppers from Sango, Ifo, Alakuko, Kola,Oko- Oba, Abule Egba and Iyana Ipaja,
The Palms Shopping Mall is a multifaceted establishment offering the best in food, fun, games, movies and household essentials Except for Shoprite that was full of activities when the reporter visited, other stores suffered low sales as people just walked in for sight-seeing.
One of the shoppers, Funmi Adegoke, who spoke to our reporter, expressed happiness over the location of the shopping facility, but blamed lack of publicity for low patronage, saying many people were yet to know about the mall.
Another shopper, Felix, called for the introduction of Cinema and more food outlets at the mall.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun had expressed satisfaction about the mall during its commissioning, saying it would further help in boosting the economy of the state.
Development of The Palms introduced and firmly established the concept of retailing as a leisure destination within Nigeria.
Designed and built to exceptionally high standards, each of the Palms venues incorporates branded retailing, entertainment and dining in a family friendly environment.