A mystery buyer has snapped up the former Bodrum home of Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun. Although the buyer’s identity is currently under wraps, one thing is certain: with a price tag of 13 million euros, the house on Neyzen Tevfik Avenue is without a doubt one of Bodrum’s most incredible residences and one property expert believes the sale marks a “sea change” for Bodrum.
Bought as a near ruin in the 1970's for $60,000, Ertegun and his wife Mica spent $308,000 renovating the original structure. The result, designed and overseen by Turkish architect Turgut Cansever, won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1978.
The interest in the home in the late 70's resulted in a flurry of restoration of other old stone houses in Bodrum area, helping to preserve Bodrum’s unique Turkish flavour in the face of burgeoning development.
Ertegun is certainly one of the reasons Bodrum has become so popular - and the media mogul probably set the tone for the peninsula’s popularity with the rich and famous. Credited with discovering the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and Ray Charles, the record mogul’s house became the centre of all things rock ‘n' roll in the 70's. High profile visitors included Henry Kissinger, Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, Sting, Dustin Hoffman and members of the Rothschild and Rockefeller families.
The 10-bedroom, 15-bathroom home sits on the seafront road of Bodrum Town where a marina and a prosperous centre stretching back from the waterfront promenade have resulted in a tourism and property boom in recent years.
After Ertegun’s 2006 death his widow Mica lived on in the residence, calling it her “refuge”. The Romanian-born designer said that when she first visited Bodrum in the early 1970's she thought there was no way she could ever call the place home.
“There were only three boats in the harbour; women were washing their sheep in front of the house. There were just two private cars in the whole town,” she said in an interview a few years ago.
“We just by chance passed through Bodrum and as we saw this house,” she added. “And believe it or not, this entire area which was obviously dilapidated, used to be a discotheque, Eros Disco. It took three years to clean it out. It was really amazing.”
The residence still retains evidence of Mrs Ertegun’s designer touch: clean, peaceful lines retaining the Ottoman features that were first included when the house was built 200 years ago.
The incredible 13 million Euro price tag is a reminder that Bodrum has come a long way from the two-horse town Mica Ertegun encountered 40 years ago. The three boats she saw have multiplied by thousands and are now housed in one of the best marinas around. The two private cars are now a legion of sleek imports, parked outside exclusive residences. And the dilapidated stone ruins that once looked out over the harbour are all multi-million dollar homes. Bodrum is no longer a quaint holiday destination - it’s a centre of wealth and sophistication, where prices for exclusive homes in Bodrum rival that of the GDP for small European countries. Landmark signature designs are being created and attributed to world famous architects such as Richard Meier Bodrum Houses to name just one.
Billionaire’s Bodrum has become the playground of the rich and famous, a place to see and be seen, a place frequented by splashy new-moneyed names like Abramovich, and quieter, old money names like the one currently kept under wraps in the Ertegun deal.
And it’s not just the celebrity names pushing Bodrum into the limelight. The renewed interest in all things maritime means that Bodrum marina homes are now in demand, driving prices up in marina centres Bodrum Town and Yalikavak.
The sale of Ahmet Ertegun’s former residence has sent waves through the international real estate world. Price tags like this one have until now been rarely seen in Turkey, except for in Istanbul of course, where you can put several more zeros in front, and experts agree that this sale could herald a new era for Turkish Mediterranean and Aegean real estate.
“For the last decade Turkey has been seen as a more reasonably priced alternative to locations such as Spain and France, with prices being about 40% cheaper for comparable homes in resort areas,” said Turkey Property founder Cameron Deggin. “The Ertegun deal has made people sit up and say ‘what’s going on here’? I’ll tell you what’s going on because I’ve seen it coming for years: property in Bodrum, Turkey is no longer the second choice for people priced out of the traditional overseas property destinations. Bodrum has come into its own.”
The property expert emphasises that elite prices are the future for property for sale in Bodrum, Turkey. “We’re going to be seeing a lot more of these deals brokered in the next year or so.” Deggin says that relaxed buying laws for foreign nationals have opened the floodgates for wealthy buyers from all over the world.
“This sale marks a sea change for Bodrum and Turkey in general,” Deggin emphasises. “Turkish property is some of the best in the Mediterranean and the world is waking up to this fact.”
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