Elevating Excellence in Accra’s Real Estate Scene: Youssef Aitour of i2 Development Ghana Unveils Prestige

Youssef Aitour shares his perspective on the current state of the real estate sector in Ghana, and unveils Prestige, a development by i2 Development Ghana designed for those who seek the finest in residential living and provides a prime commercial space for businesses and investors looking to thrive in Accra’s newest elite neighbourhood of Kotoka International Airport.

Interview with Youssef Aitour, Co-Founder and Managing Director of i2 Development Ghana

Youssef Aitour, Co-Founder and Managing Director of i2 Development Ghana

Could you share your perspective on the current state of the real estate sector in Ghana?

To begin, real estate stands out as the most secure investment globally. Numerous factors contribute positively to the thriving real estate environment, particularly on a macro level – such as the country’s political stability and the adherence to the rule of law in Ghana. These elements instill the necessary confidence in investors to actively engage in this sector.

Similar to any other commodity, the principles of supply and demand play a crucial role. In Ghana, there exists a housing deficit of 1.8 million units required to meet the country’s needs, driven by rapid urbanization. The rising number of the middle class, coupled with the return of Ghanaians living abroad and the diaspora, adds to the demand. Consequently, numerous projects are underway to address this high demand.

What are the key competitive advantages of your project, Prestige?

Firstly, it boils down to “location, location, location.” We are fortunate to have what I believe is the best location in town, situated within the enclave of Kotoka International Airport, just a minute’s walk from terminal three. Securing this prime location, which, in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful spots in town, was crucial. We meticulously selected stakeholders to ensure the project receives the attention it deserves. Consequently, we entrusted the architectural design to Key Architectural, a leading firm in town, led by the esteemed architect Hussein Fakhry. Moreover, for the project’s general contracting, we engaged the highly reputable company Micheletti, a company with a strong industry standing, notable for developing Villagio and being part of the prestigious Trasacco Group of Companies. I would say we have aces in places, boasting not only one of the best locations but also the best stakeholders. With confidence and by the grace of God, we anticipate a resounding success.

Could you provide a detailed explanation of the available purchases and the types of offers your project extends?

Our project comprises several elements, starting with a theme park called Wonderland, managed by our sister company, Wonderland Management. Due to its proximity to the airport, it will have aviation as its main theme, featuring flight simulators and other engaging activities for children. Additionally, we will introduce a commercial stretch launching luxury boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, banks, and car dealerships. Furthermore, we offer residential units, starting with studios at 28 square meters, one-bedroom units at 52 square meters, two-bedroom units, and extending all the way to penthouses. You have the option to purchase a residential unit, whether it is a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or a penthouse. Alternatively, there is the opportunity to acquire a commercial space tailored to suit your industry’s needs.

Who do you think could be your potential clients?

The potential clients are primarily high-net-worth Ghanaians residing in Ghana. In addition to the high-net-worth Ghanaians in the country, there is a significant number of Ghanaians in the diaspora, mainly in the US and the UK.

What wil the purpose of these residential or commercial units for diaspora be? Why would they buy that kind of product?

They can acquire residential units for personal use, considering the interesting trend of diasporans relocating from the US and UK to Ghana. Alternatively, they might buy it for investment purposes, or it could be a combination of both. During the Christmas season, there is a noticeable influx of diasporans returning to Ghana. For example, if they buy a small unit that provides the necessary functionalities for sleeping, showering, and spending time during their stay, they can use it for themselves when in Ghana. When they are outside Ghana, they can also rent it out for short or long stays, yielding a satisfactory return on investment.

What is the current status of the development?

We have set the project’s grand launch for December 13. We are planning a grand launch at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra. Before December 13, we will have a groundbreaking with our partner and contractor Micheletti. They are currently finalizing preparations before mobilizing to the site. The project is divided into two phases, emphasizing our commitment to credibility and integrity. Since we are self-financing the project and not relying on customer funds, we have split it into two phases. We will launch Phase One, committing to construction irrespective of the sales status. In the worst-case scenario of not selling any units, we are fully capable of completing the entire construction independently. Contractually, we are committed to delivering Phase One to customers within three years, although, realistically, we don’t anticipate needing more than two to 2.5 years. However, we have allowed a buffer of six months to one year due to unpredictable weather conditions in Accra, especially the rain, which could potentially cause construction delays. That is why we have committed to a worst-case scenario basis of three years.

What will Phase One be?

Our land spans 2.88 acres, approximately 11,600 square meters. Phase One will encompass all the underground basements, consisting of five levels. Our land is bordered by two roads, the airport bypass road, and the road leading to terminal three. So, we are looking at a three-basement level from the Marina Mall side or the airport bypass road and five basements from the opposite side. The entire basement will provide the required parking for the project and house all other necessary technical functions. Additionally, at Basement One, there is commercial space available for sale. At the ground floor level, there are commercial units connected to the basement via escalators and lifts. Phase One also includes the Wonderland theme park, along with one residential building mainly comprising studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom units, and two penthouses atop the building. Phase Two will feature larger units, starting from three bedrooms and above.

Looking at Phase One, alongside residential, there is also the commercial side catering to boutiques and brands. What is your strategy for that? What will be appealing for these brands wanting to be here?

Prestige is a statement of distinction when you live there. We want to ensure that the commercial activities within the project add significant value to both the project and its residents. We will hand-select industries that provide added value to Prestige residents. This includes high-end boutiques for clothing and apparel. Given the presence of a theme park within the development, it would be fitting to have commercial activities centered around kids, their mothers, and families. Picture a mother putting her children in the theme park and then spending quality time with her friends grabbing coffee, dining in a restaurant, and shopping for herself and her family. This represents one aspect of the commercial activities we envision for the project.

Additionally, we aim to attract high-end car dealerships and banking activities, among other businesses that, as mentioned, add value to Prestige residents. It is a win-win situation where residents benefit from businesses within the development that enhance their experience, while businesses have a ready-made clientele of high-net-worth individuals right at their doorstep.

While the location is excellent, being close to the airport, some might worry about potential noise. What can you say about that?

Essentially, our land is not directly under the flight path. For those familiar with Accra, planes land from East Lagon toward Spintex Road and the airport, and take off from the airport toward Osu and Cantonments. Our location is not directly under the flight path. As an illustration, our offices in Marina Mall, directly opposite the site, did not experience any noise from aircraft activity during the time we spent there. Additionally, similar to any other high-end development, we will implement proper measures such as double glazing and sound insulation to address ambient street noises.

Are you planning any specific campaigns or promotions to reach the diaspora or foreign markets?

Essentially, we have set the project launch date for December 13. We chose December because it is a month when many diasporans are in the country. Alongside a pre-launch discount, any customer purchasing an apartment from now until the grand launch stands a chance to win a brand new Land Cruiser in a draw held during the grand launch at Kempinski Hotel. This is our primary marketing strategy for the Ghanaian market, specifically targeting both locals and diasporans, leveraging the opportune month of December. Following the launch, shortly afterward, our marketing activities will extend to the US and the UK. Our sales team will have a presence in these locations to further promote the project.

What would be the ideal dream if everything goes according to plan? How would you envision your company in three years?

The ideal dream is to witness customers bringing in more customers themselves. This is a sign of true success, surpassing customer expectations. Drawing from my past experience in real estate, when you not only meet contractual obligations but also ethical commitments, going the extra mile, and ensuring the construction and development adhere to timelines, customers become your primary marketing force. They reinvest with you and bring in more customers on their own. For me, the ultimate success in real estate is when a customer becomes a part of your extended family.

Can you share your next move in the sector?

We are on the verge of finalizing the acquisition of a three-acre land in a highly prime location in town. On this land, we plan to develop a project even larger than our first one.

What is your inspiration and philosophy in life?

I relocated to town in 2021, shortly after the Beirut blast in my home country. I moved with my wife and two kids, and honestly, relocating to a new country with your family is never easy. However, what made it much smoother was the welcoming attitude of Ghanaians, who immediately made us feel at home. Now, I consider Ghana my home, and I genuinely feel indebted to the Ghanaian society that made me feel at home in no time. My personal philosophy is, in addition to launching successful ventures and projects, what brings us pride and happiness is seeing that our work and development have a positive impact on society – contributing to growth, creating jobs, and offering opportunities. For instance, our development, Prestige, will directly or indirectly generate over 2000 job opportunities through our contractors and subcontractors. Also, having a positive impact on tourism, such as the theme park we are launching, adds significant value. Trust me, these kinds of positive impacts feel more rewarding than the financial success of our company.

ABOUT PRESTIGE: Nestled within the prestigious enclave of Kotoka International Airport, Prestige offers the ultimate location for the city’s cosmopolitan elite. This development fulfils the aspirations of those who seek the finest in residential living and provides a prime commercial space for businesses and investors looking to thrive in Accra’s newest elite neighbourhood. With impeccably designed residential spaces and a flexible approach to commercial floorplans, Prestige is the embodiment of excellence, inviting you to experience a life of utmost luxury and benefit from the rewards of this prime location in the heart of Accra.


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