Agaoglu sells $67m Istanbul block

The Turkish developer Agaoglu has agreed to a US$67m (Dh246m) deal at this year’s Cityscape event to sell an entire block of its Maslak 1453 project in Istanbul to a charitable foundation owned by the Saudi Arabian billionaire Sheikh Sulaiman Al Rajhi.

Maslak 1453 is a cluster of 24 towers on a 320,000 square metre site that has a central street running through it with cafes, bars, restaurants and a group of surrounding terrace residences. In total, the development contains 4,681 homes and more than 600 offices. The developer says it is Europe’s biggest mixed-use project.

The foundation has bought a block containing 140 apartments, but is not the first Saudi investor in the Maslak 1453 project. Two years ago, AbdulJawad Holding signed a $200m deal to buy two towers in the development containing 469 apartments – about 10 per cent of the total. After the deal with the Al Rajhi Foundation, Agaoglu says that 90 per cent of the project is now sold. Construction work is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.

Agaoglu also used last week’s Cityscape Dubai to seek investor interest in Turkey’s Istanbul International Financial Centre, for which it has been given a mandate by Turkey’s government to develop.

The project consists of three elements built on top of a podium containing a shopping centre and 5,000 parking spaces. Two plots on either end are being developed by Agaoglu, while the central part of the site will contain a series of towers that will become the headquarters for many of Turkey’s biggest banks as well as the Central Bank of Turkey.

“We are gathering all of the government banks – Central Bank, Halkbank, Ziraat Bank, Vakiflar Bank – in one spot in Istanbul instead of Ankara. Istanbul is our commercial centre. We’re bringing them to the Asian side [of the city], with 50,000 employees to come and work at this centre,” said Agaoglu’s foreign customer relations manager Ali El Salih.

Infrastructure work started on the 303,000 sq m site earlier this year, and Mr El Salih said the first phase of the project contained seven buildings – one residential and six offices on a 116,000 sq m plot.

These will house a total of 1,448 units – 322 of which will be residential – and a 2,500 capacity conference space. It will be completed by 2018.

El Salih said that Agaoglu was responsible for $2bn of the $2.6bn investment in Istanbul International Financial Centre and was looking to raise $500m from investors.

“What we are doing here is looking for a strategic partner that will go in with a fund. They can invest $1m or $500m, it doesn’t matter.

“It’s one of a kind and there’s not going to be another one,” he said.

Sheikh Sulaiman Al Rajhi is the co-founder of Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank.

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