15 Mar 2019 - Sierra Leone (Freetown)

Ian Lawrence

I have just returned from Sierra Leone where the speedboat trip across the bay from the airport to Freetown provided just the adrenaline rush needed to shake of the feeling of drowsiness from my flight.

I stayed at the Country Lodge, Hill Station which has great views across the city and is still a little cooler than the coastal region despite the fact that most of the trees have now gone from the hill. A reminder of what it was like before deforestation comes in the form of the Cotton Tree that marks the centre of Freetown. It is said to be over 300 years old and is home to a colony of bats.

Freetown Cotton Tree

Cotton Tree, Freetown

I was actually in Freetown not to look at trees but to review the property market where demand for office space is low. The demand that there is for offices it is often from owner occupiers rather than from tenants wanting to lease premises. The principal occupier of office space in Freetown is the Government followed by banks and financial institutions, NGOs, foreign governments and the private sector.

Due to this the vast majority of office buildings are located in the centre of the city in the CBD. These buildings tend to be dated and often do not meet the occupational requirements of international corporations. The trend for international organisations to move south is not impacting on the Government Departments and one of the largest office buildings being developed in Freetown currently is earmarked for a government ministry that is rumoured to be the Finance Ministry. Some companies choose to occupy villas or apartments for their offices.

Tags: Sierra Leone