Board puts upscale Istanbul neighborhoods under urban protection

Board puts upscale Istanbul neighborhoods under urban protection

Board puts upscale Istanbul neighborhoods under urban protection

The regional Board of Conservation of Cultural Assets in Istanbul has ruled that six neighborhoods in the city’s central Şişli district are “historical and urban protected areas,” restricting construction activities on the valuable and expensive spots.

From now on, all construction activities in the area will be subject to permissions given by the regional board, which will deliver its own verdict regardless of the current zoning plans, thus, rendering them ineffective.

This area, specifically started being structured in mid-19th century, carries all elements of the modern architectural culture that emerged with the construction of different architectural styles over the centuries and is one in which historic and political incidents have taken place,” the board’s ruling late last year said.

“Until the conservation principles and terms of use for the transition period are determined, it has been decided that actions should not be taken in scope of the zoning plans in force,” it stated, highlighting the architectural diversity of the mentioned neighborhoods.

The ruling stands for the İnönü, Ergenekon, Halaskargazi, Meşrutiyet, Teşvikiye and Harbiye neighborhoods.

Real estate attorneys working in the area have conveyed that urban transformation works have been halted, and buildings, which were already demolished or determined to be risky, are looking for solutions.

“Before this decision, if you wanted to purchase a premise, you were able to get the zoning status from the municipality in a couple of days. Now, you can get the zoning status of a premise from Istanbul’s 2nd Regional Board for Conservation of Cultural Assets. This would take a month in the best case scenario,” said Hikmet Güngör, a lawyer specialized in real estate.

“Since [the regional board] will have to deal with these kinds of easy tasks, there will be setbacks to their primary missions,” he added.

Güngör also claimed that the board’s authority regarding the subject will lead to “an increase in bureaucratic hassles.”

“A foreign client has backed down from his $45 million hotel project because of this,” he said.

Apart from the current verdict, the board also ruled to put 80 buildings in the same area under protection.