Jul 11 2018

Turkish builder sees Miami tower selling on Erdoğan exodus

Turkish property magnate Bekir Okan is building an 890-foot (270-metre) tower in Miami and expects to sell its condominiums to wealthy people who are leaving Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was re-elected last month.

Okan, the owner of Istanbul-based Okan Group, has erected a 3000 square-foot (280 square-metre) model condo in Istanbul to help sell the 389 residential units in his $300 million tower, set to be one of the tallest in Miami, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The Turks love Miami, the weather and the stability in politics,” he said, according to the newspaper.

Erdoğan, re-elected in a vastly empowered role as president on June 24, has warned Turks against pulling capital out of the country amid a sell-off in the lira and rising interest rates, which are hurting the investments of many Turks. The lira has lost 20 percent of its value this year as Erdoğan stimulated economic growth to new heights and investors warned of a possible crash.

Okan Tower is designed by Miami architect Robert Behar. Its attractions include a sky pool on the top floor, a hammam, or Turkish bath, and a luxury restaurant and a hammam. The building’s façade is based on a tulip, the national flower of Turkey, the Wall Street Journal said.

In the past, Miami has proven popular with rich Turks, particularly homosexuals, who see the city as a welcome retreat from an Islamified Turkey under Erdoğan, with its increasing social prejudices.

Okan says he has sold 45 of the residential units in the mixed-use tower. He says he is hoping to break ground in November and complete construction in 2022.

Destinations such as Miami, London and Paris have proven popular with wealthy international buyers who are suspicious of political and economic stability in their home countries.

Real estate prices in Istanbul and the capital Ankara are falling when subtracting the effects of inflation, which reached 15.4 percent in May, the highest level since 2003. The inflation rate has pushed up the cost of borrowing on mortgages, meaning many newly-developed luxury properties in the country remain unsold.