Istanbul’s busiest avenue İstiklal hopes to bring back good old days

Istanbul’s busiest avenue İstiklal hopes to bring back good old days

Güneş Kömürcüler - ISTANBUL
Istanbul’s busiest avenue İstiklal hopes to bring back good old days

Istanbul’s busiest avenue, the iconic “İstiklal Avenue,” hopes to bring back the good old days in terms of passenger traffic and expensive rental opportunities after suffering a series of setbacks. Meanwhile, the city’s second and third most popular avenues have begun to recover from two problematic years, a fresh report has shown.

Many big brands left İstiklal Avenue amid escalating security concerns and disruptive construction projects over the last couple of years.

“In addition to these problems, passenger traffic on İstiklal Avenue in 2017 declined 11 percent both on week days and weekends compared to the previous year, amid ongoing renovation works on its historic tramline,” the latest Cushman & Wakefield report on Istanbul’s top avenues has revealed.

The report also showed a significant change in the avenue’s profile, from culture and shopping center to eating and drinking center.

Of the 23 empty stores, only 12 were rented in 2017, of which five pertained to restaurants and cafes, according to the report.

A total of 35 rental transactions were made on the avenue in 2017. Apart from a 3,000-square-meter space rented by the Yapı Kredi Culture Center, rental clients managed to secure lower prices than the three-year average, according to the report.

In 2014, İstiklal Avenue saw the world’s second-highest rent increases after San Francisco’s Union Street.

“We believe that İstiklal has gone from being a high-end eating and drinking center and cultural hub to a local ready-made clothing center and a lower profile eating and drinking center,” Cushman & Wakefield Managing Parner Toğrul Günden has said.

“On the other hand, we expect the avenue and its surrounding region to recover once the Atatürk Cultural Center has been successfully completed,” he added.

Meanwhile, the historic tram connecting Istanbul’s Tünel Square and Taksim Square was reopened on Dec. 30, 2017, after a year of renovation works on İstiklal Avenue.

Bağdat Avenue and Nişantaşı

The report has offered a rosier picture for Istanbul’s two other hottest avenues: Bağdat Avenue on the Asian side and the Nişantaşı district on the European side.

Bağdat Avenue saw the sixth-highest rent increase in 2014 and Abdi İpekçi Avenue in Nişantaşı saw the tenth-highest before the locations were hit by significant decreases in passenger traffic and rentals.

Passenger traffic on Bağdat Avenue saw a 27-percent year-on-year decrease in 2017 amid a large number of urban transformation projects, according to the report.

“However, a sharp recovery for the avenue has been seen in recent months with the opening of a number of global stores, including Chanel, Eataly, Apple and Samsung. An expected decrease in rent prices with an ease in foreign exchange volatility is also likely to fuel this trend,” read the report.

Some 50 percent of 42 stores were rented in 2017, with nearly half of these rentals undertaken by newcomers, according to the report.

In Nişantaşı, while passenger traffic declined 19 percent in weekdays mainly due to large urban transformation projects around its hottest point, Abdi İpekçi Avenue, traffic saw a 12-percent increase in weekends.

Thanks to a new generation of restaurants and cafés in secondary streets, Nişantaşı became the only top district in Istanbul to experience a rise in passenger traffic. The district has had a “slight” recovery in the medium-term, according to the report.

Some 50 percent of the 31 rental transactions were made by ready-made clothing brands, 64 percent of which were local. There were only eight accessible luxurious brand transactions in Nişantaşı, which was once popular with high-end brands.

“Amid a huge rise in construction zones – a sector that has experienced 92-percent year-on-year growth – Nişantaşı faces a serious air pollution and visual pollution problems,” read the report.