Central Istanbul district Beyoğlu needs 25,000 new buildings, mayor says

Central Istanbul district Beyoğlu needs 25,000 new buildings, mayor says

Central Istanbul district Beyoğlu needs 25,000 new buildings, mayor says

A Tarlabaşı building worth 100,000 Turkish Liras before the project is now valued at around 2 million liras, Mayor Demircan said, signaling more such projects elsewhere in Beyoğlu. DAILY NEWS Photo

Istanbul’s central district of Beyoğlu is whetting the appetite of investors, as around half of the 50,000 buildings in the city’s heart of entertainment and arts need to be renewed, Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan has said.

The district mayor was speaking at a ceremony on Nov. 17 to promote the Tarlabaşı project, a large and controversial plan to replace historic buildings in the neighborhood, which is known as one of the most insecure places in Istanbul and is inhabited by drug dealers and illegal migrants.

Çalık Holding, with close ties to the government, is carrying out the Tarlabaşı 360 project.

The value of some buildings in Tarlabaşı has already jumped 50-fold, Demircan said, adding that municipalities should focus on neighborhoods that do not typically attract investors.

“Beyoğlu used to be the district with the highest crime rate. But thanks to the transformation the negative things were cut down and the region became more precious," he said.

Feyzullah Yetgin, the chairman of Çalık Group’s real estate arm, said the 97 residences in the Tarlabaşı 360 project have already received four-fold demand.

“Some 70 percent of the offices have alreadly been sold,” Yetgin said, adding that the investment value of the project is half a billion U.S. dollars.

Mayor Demircan particularly pointed to the restive Okmeydanı neighborhood as a future site for "urban renewal," saying a project has already been developed for Okmeydanı and the municipality was now looking for the right investor.

However, such urban transformation projects may face grass roots resistance in Okmeydanı, which witnesses frequent clashes between the police and leftist groups.

A plan to erect a mall in Istanbul’s Gezi Park in Beyoğlu triggered one of the largest uprisings in the country’s history last year. The civil occupation in the park continued for weeks and resulted in the deaths of eight young people in Gezi-linked protests across the country.

Despite being heavily criticized during the protests, Demircan was elected with 48 percent of the votes in Beyoğlu in March this year.