FUTURE LAGOS | Why a Lagos high street is booming : The changing face of Admiralty Way

“The amount of foot and car traffic that passes through the estate is also too large to ignore.”

Lekki Phase 1’s Admiralty Way is fast becoming Lagos’s busiest high street. With over 120 stores, the road now offers more shops than the largest shopping centre in Lagos. Is this testament to the history of markets in Lagos or just a natural progression of a commercial haven?

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by Dolapo Omidire

Lekki Phase 1‘s Admiralty Way is fast becoming Lagos’s busiest high street. With over 170 stores, the road now offers more shops than Ikeja City Mall – the city’s largest shopping centre and Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja which will be Nigeria’s largest mall when it opens by the end of this year. At the moment, only 3 large modern malls of ±20,000sqm serve Lagos’ population of 17 million, compared to a staggering 200 that serve a population of 8 million in Johannesburg, a testament to how far behind Lagos still is regarding retail. Even though there is a lot of development planned, multiple high streets are developing to cater to  the desire that many Lagosian’s have to spend, easily demonstrating that the retail sector in Nigeria waits for no man.

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Establishing itself as a key prime residential estate around 10 years ago Lekki Phase 1, was and still is a node that is home to often young and affluent middle and upper middle class Lagosians. The estate is located on the what is referred to as ‘The Island’, at the beginning of the Lekki Epe expressway immediately after the Victoria Island Annex. It is bounded by the first roundabout on the new expressway and ends at the 3rd roundabout which is often referred to as 2nd gate. Lekki Phase 1’s position between Victoria Island (a commercial region), Ikoyi (wealthy residential region) and Ibeju Lekki and beyond (mixed use) means that it can pull from a wide catchment area to thrive. As the image above shows, Admiralty runs all the way through the estate.

View on Admiralty Way From Onikepo Akande Street 2007

Starting from a single pharmacy or grocery store (Queens Pharmacy) on the road around 8 years ago, developers, landlords, investors and homeowners woke up to the opportunity that the high traffic road had within this large gated affluent community.

Admiralty Way 2012

By quarter 4 in 2015, Admiralty way had over 170 stores, 6 banks, 2 fuels stations with many more developments in the pipeline. Among these stores the most dominant category are ‘Food and Drink’ and ‘Fashion and Accessories’, together they account for 55% of all retail on the street. Seeing as Admiralty is not a shopping mall, there is little regulation on tenant mix and type of shops that can open on the road, so there are large amounts of duplication. This however, means more options for consumers who often come from communities across ‘The Island’ for food, grocery shopping as well as entertainment and leisure.  

The real question here however is why and how has it grown so rapidly? To begin with, the stock of retail available on ‘The Island’ is insufficient to cater to the huge catchment area. While The Palms is just a stones throw away, even visible from the entrance of Lekki Phase 1, inconvenient access and parking means that it isn’t always the first choice for most consumers, leaving them with limited options. The amount of foot and car traffic that passes through the estate is also too large to ignore. Many commuters use Admiralty Way on a daily basis to bypass traffic on the Lekki expressway and with the introduction of the Lekki Ikoyi link bridge in 2013, a larger amount of people are using the route to bypass traffic in Victoria Island. This new bridge linking Ikoyi, arguably the most affluent region in Lagos that is currently without a defined retail area, to Lekki also further opened up the consumer base for retailers on Admiralty.  

Lekki Ikoyi Link Bridge

The volumes of people seen allows retailers tap into a large pool of impulsive buyers that can drive foot traffic and revenue. Limited options for entertainment and leisure also means that ‘spots’ like BLD, The Orchard or even the Place on Admiralty Way can cater to the residents and non residents desire to take a break and relax after hours.

8 bedrooms, 8 baths, Mansion in Lekki Phase 1

Whats more, Lekki Phase 1 as a residential estate has grown in status and is increasingly attractive to individuals who may be priced out of the Ikoyi residential market or are seeking larger and more affordable homes. The supply of houses and apartments is increasing within the estate as demand for property steadily rises. Unfortunately there are still looming vacancies in the region and landlords have seen the lucrative opportunity in breaking up the space and putting it into commercial use. According to MCO Real Estate, asking price for land in Lekki has grown 47% from N90,000 in Q4 2011/sqm to N131,684/sqm in 2015 Q1, representing an average year on year growth of 4.3% over the period.  

The rapid growth of Admiralty Way speaks to the greater desire for more formal retail in Nigeria, especially within its commercial capital – Lagos. The retail development pipeline on the Lekki Epe Expressway including Circle Mall at Jakande Roundabout, Royal Gardens Mall at Royal Gardens Estate, Lekki Mall after Ajah and a few others demonstrates that investors are aware of this shortage and are keen on plugging a hole in the deficit. However, aside these large shopping centres, it is imperative that investors and developers begin to look to the inherent opportunity available in smaller retail developments as opposed to destination malls to cater to strategic catchment areas scattered across the city.



  1. Image:vacantboards.com
  2. Image: Google Maps
  3. Image:www.panoramio.com
  4. Image:www.livinginlekki.com
  5. Image: Instagram – @captafolly
  6. Image: http://www.privateproperty.com.ng/


About FutureLagos

Olamide Udoma is a researcher, writer and filmmaker holding degrees in BSc Architecture, MA Design and MPhil Infrastructure Management. Olamide has worked in London, South Africa and Nigeria with various organisations focusing on transport management, slum upgrading and housing rights in urbanising African cities. At Our Future Cities NPO, she is the Lagos manager and editor.