Istanbul's skyscraper revolution: the giants moving into the city
Istanbul’s construction boom has propelled the city into a new era of skyscrapers. The tall buildings, a symbol of modern city innovation, have popped up around the city like lofty mushrooms, changing the skyline and providing homes and offices for millions of city dwellers.
The proliferation of tall buildings in Istanbul means Turkey’s most populous city is the tallest in Europe, and will soon be one of the 15 countries with the most skyscrapers.
Currently ranked at number 24, Istanbul currently has 122 skyscrapers - slightly more than a third of number one-ranked Hong Kong, where there are 315 buildings over 150 metres tall - the global standard for skyscrapers.
Istanbul’s construction boom, driven by a steadily growing economy, aims to address housing needs of its citizens, with everyone the poor to the newly affluent middle classes clamouring for apartments in Istanbul.
Skyscrapers once housed commercial enterprises: headquarters of multinational corporations; glitzy big-brand hotels. Now, the buildings that tower over the mosques and old Ottoman homes in Istanbul are multi-purpose complexes, containing residential properties, offices, malls, leisure facilities - even hospitals.
Tall buildings are spreading out along both sides of the Bosphorus. On the European side, skyscrapers stretch from Bomonti, an up-and-coming business district, to Buyukdere, a main street in the city’s original financial district.
On the Asian side of the city, future home to the Istanbul Finance Centre - Turkey’s very own “Wall Street” - skyscraper construction is well underway, working to build the structures that will one day house the headquarters of some of the world’s best known institutions.
So far, there are no contenders to top Sapphire Tower, Turkey’s tallest building on the European side of Istanbul. The 54-floor, 261-high building in Levent was Turkey’s first ecological building and contains gardens, shops and luxury residences.
Cameron Deggin's pick of the city’s skyscraper property
Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin, who has invested in a number of tall-building projects in Istanbul, says skyscrapers are enduringly popular. “No other outlook can give you the same perspective on the variety of people in the world and the different ways they live. Apartments in Turkey 's largest city are more than just a home in the sky: they offer a bird’s eye view, as well as an oasis of calm in a very fast-paced city.”
They’re also typically surrounded by great amenities. “Because many skyscrapers hold a huge number of office workers, local neighborhoods around the buildings usually have a large number of places to eat and shop, and generally enjoy life.”
Deggin’s pick for skyscrapers that are beautifully designed - as well as excellent investment opportunities - include:
Home of the new financial district, Atasehir - or Turkey’s Wall Street - will be the new home to Turkey’s largest companies - as well as regional headquarters for some of the world’s largest corporations.
This modern development is tipped to be finished in the next few months, at which time it will jump a price point. Its sleek, modern exterior contains luxury homes, and excellent lifestyle facilities for residents. Travel links to the financial centre and around the city are excellent, says Deggin.
“This development will attract executive-level tenants, and will appreciate nicely in the two or three years following completion. The most favourable property deals in Atasehir are undoubtedly the projects with ground-floor prices, but this is one small exception that I think investors would do well to consider."
Priced slightly lower, with units starting at £179,000, this Atasehir complex (right) is ideal for investors seeking steady rental income from upwardly mobile professionals working in the financial centre. “This is a solid investment option in a fast-growing, desirable area,” says Deggin.
These residences will attract working families and young professionals with ties to the financial centre. One minute away from the Bosphorus Bridge, they’re ideally placed to connect with the wider city - and they’re right in the middle of a fast-growing district, where price rises are guaranteed. "This is a superb project, and the area in general is an ideal location for anyone looking for diverse ways to invest in Istanbul," says Deggin.
Bomonti has been transformed by development, turning it from a rundown district into one of the central city’s most expensive areas. These luxury apartments with hotel-style facilities have already appreciated in value - but there’s still room to move. Deggin invested in these projects a year ago, but says there are still opportunities in the complex. Read about his motives for investing in Bomonti here.