Governor Sanwo-Olu, Emefiele and Mohammed particularly expressed satisfaction with the level of renovation work being carried out at what is now christened, under the renovation arrangement, Lagos Creative & Entertainment Centre (LC&EC).
Emefiele, who is chairman of the project’s steering committee, especially noted during inspection of the facility on Sunday December 12, that major milestones had been achieved since the project’s commencement on site early in 2021.
The Bankers’ Committee has committed over N40 billion to the project which is expected to deliver far-reaching benefits to the Nigerian economy, supporting initiatives of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to grow the creative industry and provide jobs to the country’s youthful population.
According to a statement capturing the site inspection visit, since the award of contracts in March, the main and subcontractors, as well as specialist contractors, have followed a rigorous project plan of identifying and saving items of significant historical value and art, stripping away and decommissioning, carrying out integrity assessments, creating new services routes, and remodelling some of the interior spaces including nearly 300 units of conveniences.
Specifically, Sanwo-Olu, Emefiele, Mohammed and other members of the steering committee, including Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor of the CBN in charge of financial system stability (FSS), Herbert Wigwe, group managing director of Access Bank and chairman, Body of Bank CEOs, and Segun Agbaje, group managing director, GT Holding Company, noted that the entire heating, ventilation, air conditioning system, power, water supply and sewage systems were currently being replaced while fire safety standards are being significantly upgraded.
Other areas of the work, on which progress was observed include, the nearly 3000sqm roof terrace, a major source of leakages, now undergoing repair; the floors, walls, panels, and ceilings have been stripped back as part of a plan to ensure that all underlying structures are able to support new finishes.
Sanwo-Olu, Emefiele and members of the steering committee also noted that in the 4000-seater main bowl, the new stage infrastructure will deliver future-fit performing arts spaces, for dance, theatre, music, and multimedia, with adjustable acoustics and advanced technical systems, adaptable to the requirements of audiences, artists, and sponsors.
It observed that the banquet halls and exhibition spaces as well as the two 500-seater cinemas had been stripped out, with new walls, floor and ceiling finishes being installed.
The renovation work currently going on at the National Arts Theatre got into gear after the CBN governor led members of the Bankers’ Committee to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the federal government in February 2021 for the handover of the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
At the signing, Emefiele had noted that revamping the National Arts Theatre would unlock the creative talents of hundreds of thousands of Nigerian youths in the fields of music, movie production, fashion, and information technology.
The National Arts Theatre, a national monument and Nigeria’s most iconic symbol of arts and culture, is being restored and its facilities are being upgraded to match the best standards of theatre and performance in the world, states an explanatory note seen by Business a.m.
According to the Bankers’ Committee, the edifice will be at the heart of a larger development of hubs that will form an ecosystem of the creative sector – film, fashion, information technology and music, alongside other critical amenities with the ultimate objective of unleashing opportunities for the youth, competence and capacity building and enhancement of the prospects for revenue generation.
The Bankers’ Committee had made a commitment to the redevelopment at the end of 2019, which was reinforced by the handover of the facility and the adjoining 44-hectare parcel of land to it; and the project is now coming to fruition with the supported partnership of the Lagos State government, Federal Ministries of Information & Culture and Youth & Sports Development, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee.
An explanatory statement stated:“Restoration of the carefully catalogued in situ and moveable art created nearly 45 years ago by world acclaimed Nigerian pioneer art masters, including the exceptional stained glass works by Professor Yusuf Grillo, are being carefully restored and protected by a team of local and international art conservators.
“An art conservation lab is also being developed to ensure the restoration and archiving of hundreds of objects of historic importance, including vintage audio and video equipment, musical instruments, publications, photographs, and leading design furniture from the 1970’s for museum displays within the sprawling facility,” it further added.
The creative hubs will be built on portions of land within an adjoining 44-hectare site with the first phase, known as the “Signature Cluster”, consisting of a building each for fashion, music, film, and IT and support facilities, including a 250-car park block, a police station, a fire station, and a visitors’ Welcome Centre that will house commercial and retail facilities, administration and management offices amongst others.
The tender process for the construction of the buildings and services is now in its conclusion stage. It is understood that nearly 500 piles with depths up to 49 metres will be installed by three piling contractors, to support the buildings and new road network within the Signature Cluster.
The second phase, which has been designed as clusters for each of the creatives, is structured in a manner that gives other investors and sponsors the opportunity to participate in the growth of the LC&EC.
The interaction between the hubs, the natural environment, the National Theatre, and the major transport mode of the near-future – the adjoining Lagos Light Rail – has been considered and maximised in the master plan.
The arts theatre was delivered in 1976, and Cappa & D’Alberto Limited are the main contractors for the ongoing renovation,, while Nairda Limited and VACC Limited, are the electrical sub-contractor and mechanical sub-contractor, respectively.