LIVING LARGE

Turkey 2014 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | FOCUS: UPSCALE IN ISTANBUL

The infrastructure sector is not alone in its passion for megaprojects, with major mixed-use real estate projects also being writ large on the landscape.

Spurred on by the growth of the real estate sector over the better part of the last decade, a handful of massive megaprojects have sprouted up in and around Istanbul. This megaproject trend can be highlighted by two of the largest: Vadistanbul and Tema Istanbul.

Vadistanbul has attracted much international and domestic attention since the project's launch, both for its design—by the award-winning Turkish architecture office İki Design and the US firm SOM Architecture—and for its investment prospects. The Artaş Group-Aydınlı Group-Keleşoğlu Construction joint venture will be developed over a total area of 424,000 sqm and includes over 3,000 residential units, a 55,000-sqm shopping center, office space, shopping streets, cafes, 48,000 sqm of hotels, and entertainment venues.

The project also features a number of firsts for Turkey, such as a private subway entrance that will be connected to Istanbul's metro. Water from the Bosphorus will also make its way through Vadistanbul via the Sadabad stream.

Excluding the value of the land, the TL1.5 billion investment for the project makes Vadistanbul one of the largest real estate developments currently underway in Istanbul.

The project is split into three phases, with the first coming online in November 2014 at an expected cost of TL300 million. This phase includes 1,111 housing units on eight blocks and is set to open in 2H2014. Concluding in May 2015, the second phase will introduce office spaces, shopping malls, street stores, and hotels. The final stage will add 2,000 housing units and additional office spaces, being able to house roughly 35,000 people.

Over 45% of the residential units were already sold by 2013, and the total turnover expected from the project is $2.5 billion. Located on the north side of Istanbul surrounded by the Belgrade Forest region, the project stands to benefit greatly from the completion of the third Bosphorus bridge and the third Istanbul airport.

On the west side of the city in the Atakent region, an even larger multi-purpose mega project is being developed. Tema Istanbul—developed by the Mesa, Avrupa Konutları, Öztaş, and Kantur-Akdaş joint venture group—eclipses even the Vadistanbul project with an investment value of $2 billion.

Tema Istanbul will have 3,614 homes, commercial areas, hotels, and other social activity areas on 330,000 sqm of land. Once completed, Tema Istanbul's residential units will be able to house around 11,000 people. The project also includes Tema World, an entertainment theme park that is set to be the largest in Turkey at around 400,000 sqm. The investment cost of the theme park alone is $400 million, and it is expected to host over 3 million visitors per year. With a total project size of over 1.5 million sqm, Tema Istanbul is one of the largest projects in all of Europe.

During MIPIM 2014 in Cannes in March 2014, the Tema Istanbul project was presented internationally for the first time, attracting much foreign attention, like Istanbul's other mega projects. Around 1,800 residential units have already been sold, and in a sign of Istanbul's overall real estate market, the per square meter value could rise up to 30% to 40% by the time of Tema Istanbul's scheduled opening in 2016.