Istanbul’s Galataport to open next year
Burak Coşan- ISTANBUL
New cruise ship port, Galataport, which is being developed jointly by Doğuş Group and Bilgili Holding in Istanbul’s Karaköy district along 1,200 meters of coastline, will welcome its first cruise ship in April 2020.
A total of $1.7 billion has been already invested in the project, which is expected to create around 5,000 new jobs.
Ferit Şahenk, Doğus Holding chairman and CEO, and Serdar Bilgili, Bilgili Holding chairman, attended a press meeting on Aug. 26 in Istanbul to share the details of the port development.
Galataport is projected to host a total of 64 cruise ships in 2020. In 2021, 145 cruise ships are expected to dock at the port. The operators of the port aim to serve up to 500 cruise ships in 2020.
Şahenk described Galataport as the “jewel of Istanbul.” “This 1.2 kilometers-long coastline had been closed to the public for over 200 years. Now, we are opening it,” Şahenk said, adding that the $1.7 billion investment includes the offer made in the privatization.
Doğuş Holding and its partner Bilgili Holding placed the highest offer for the privatization of Galataport with a $702 million bid in May 2013, winning the rights to operate the port area in Istanbul’s Karaköy neighborhood for 30 years.
“The port’s passenger terminal is built underground. The port will welcome 1.5 million visitors, including ships’ crew, and it will energize cruise ship tourism activity from the Mediterranean up to the Black Sea,” Şahenk added.
“It has been a tough five years. Once Galataport becomes operational, Istanbul will become a much more modern city. It will provide people living in Istanbul with a new space to socialize,” Serdar Bilgili said.
The venue will have a total of 52,000 square meters of leasable area for shops and restaurants and another 43,000 square meters for offices, according to Hüsnü Akhan, deputy chairman at Doğuş Holding.
“Those cafes, restaurants and shops, as well as a hotel, will create jobs for 5,000 people,” Akhan said.
A 177-room hotel will be built at the port, according to Şahenk.
“Hong Kong-based Peninsula Group, which operates nine hotels across the globe, will have a presence here, not as an operator but as an investor. The share of the Peninsula Group in the hotel investment at Galataport is 50 percent,” Şahenk added.
Akhan also informed that they held talks on restructuring a 1.02 billion euros loan secured for the Galataport project.
“A verbal agreement has been reached,” he said.