Bosphorus Development Founder and Board Chairman Mehmet V. Saçaklıoğlu: It is profitable to invest in Ukraine now, no need to be afraid of this
An exclusive interview of Bosphorus Development Founder and Board Chairman Mehmet V. Saçaklıoğlu with the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency
- You are a foreign developer who has started the construction of a residential complex in Kyiv amid the war. Why did you decide to take up the implementation of this project?
- In fact, we started work on Maxima Residence, a residential complex in the capital, a few months before the beginning of the full-scale war. This is our first development project in Ukraine. We are implementing it in partnership with the Ukrainian company RIEL. The Russian invasion slightly adjusted our plans but did not stop the work.
In the first months of the war, we were focused on our support for Ukraine: we bought cars, various equipment – helmets, body armor, thermal imagers, and medicines for the military. We hosted around 150 Ukrainian refugees at our hotel Crowne Plaza Istanbul Florya in Turkey. We organized tours for Ukrainian children to the Istanbul Aquarium, one of the world's largest aquariums that we built in Istanbul. It was one of the elements of psychological rehabilitation for the children. We have done and continue to do a lot for assistance to Ukraine. The fact is that my family founded its own business here 20 years ago. At first, it was confectionery production, then it was logistics and telecommunications business. Eventually we focused on our locomotive business – real estate construction and development. I came to Ukraine to run the company. In Kyiv I got married and my two children were born here. So, Ukraine is my second Motherland. And I believe in its successful future.
The economy is no less important for victory and investment is the economy's blood. Concrete plants and construction equipment should work, people should have jobs, taxes should be paid. That is why we have resumed the construction of Maxima Residence in June this year. The work is in progress right now.
It is hard but still possible to work under current conditions, with air raid alerts and the curfew. We weigh all risks and we guarantee that the construction of the house will be completed on time. According to the schedules, the construction of the third section of the complex, which is the last one, will be finished in Q4, 2025.
- Tell us about the project, its architectural solutions, infrastructure planning and so on.
- This is our first construction project in Ukraine and we have to present it as good as possible. For this, we are using all of our 50 years of experience gained during the implementation of more than 100 projects. Maxima Residence, a business class residential complex with 486 apartments, is being constructed in line with international standards and environmental norms. The facility is situated in Pechersk district which boasts of everything necessary for life – from supermarkets and restaurants, schools and kindergartens to parks and fitness clubs, and developed transport infrastructure.
Our architects took much effort to make the residential complex comfortable for all residents. Modern apartment layouts, smart public space, recreation and sports areas, playgrounds for children, and creative landscape design. The principles of inclusion were also taken into account – special paths and handrails for residents with reduced mobility are integrated into its infrastructure.
According to the type of real estate, the residential complex will be equipped with a stylish lobby, a playroom for children of different age, a multi-purpose lounge area with a terrace, a coworking and a separate space for business meetings, as well as a fitness center for the residents of the complex. It will also have a two-level underground parking and it is planned that the principle of 'no-parking territory' will be observed.
It is very important to us that resident of the house feel safe, therefore around-the-clock security guard and video surveillance services will be provided, and the territory of the complex will be closed.
- How active is potential buyers' interest in the project? Tell us about sales. How prices are changing?
- There is interest despite the difficult situation in the country. The sales started this June and since that time we have revised the prices upward by 10%. Today, around 120 apartments in the first and second sections are available for investment. We have not started sales in the third section yet.
How active is the interest? If we are talking about the time before the Russian invasion, it was one story, and if we take into account the fact that a full-scale war continues in the country and many constructions have been suspended, it is an absolutely different story. However, we make sales and this is quite logical. First of all, in Pechersk district, where we are building [the complex], there are almost no vacant land sites. And it is a very good location for residence of those who wish to enjoy urban comfort and infrastructure. Secondly, we are an international company and we build in line with international standards. Maxima Residence will boast of high quality which is very much appreciated by its future residents.
In addition, we guarantee that we will finish the facility. Our potential and finance are sufficient for the completion of the construction even if sales are not enough.
- The sales started in June. How much has been invested in the project at the moment?
- Our company invests in the construction of Maxima Residence as much money as it is necessary to implement the project qualitatively and on time.
Ukraine is a country with advantageous location, big opportunities and a promising future. Yes, it is risky to launch new projects today. Nevertheless, we resumed the construction of Maxima Residence which involves hundreds of experts, we pay taxes to the budget and we support the economy of Ukraine. This is necessary to show other foreign companies and investors that it is profitable to invest in Ukraine now and no need to be afraid of this.
- What is the portrait of your buyer today? Is it different from the one you designed at the stage of project planning?
- Our buyers are people who value comfortable life in the city downtown. Many apartments were bought for personal residence and there are investors as well. It is worth noting that buyers are very cautious and demanding today. However, they still understand that money should be invested in real estate right now because the one who enters the market first will enjoy the biggest benefit. Decisions about big investment require a thorough assessment of risks and security guarantees – both in wartime and after the war – so, a potential investor weight and checks everything in detail. We and our partner have good reputation, active work is in progress at the construction site, thus we meet the requirements of the most demanding investor.
The war will not last forever and we believe in Ukraine's speedy victory. After the victory, the country will change dramatically and develop fast, and the construction will be the main engine of this development.
- Are you preparing any new projects? What type of real estate, in your opinion, will become the most prospective in the next five years?
- We are planning to build a lot in Ukraine. We want to bring here our colossal experience in construction we have gained in Turkey. It will be construction of housing and commercial facilities. I cannot tell you details since the situation changes every day and it is hard to make any forecasts for the future. However, I should say that we have already got a large land bank in Ukraine which so far consists of land plots mostly in the central part of Kyiv. We are also considering the possibility of implementing projects in Europe and the United States in the near future. We are studying these markets.
In 1970, the company built its first real estate project in the city of Şanlıurfa in the east of Turkey. Since then, its core business is construction and development and housing and commercial real estate.
Over more than half a century, the company commissioned more than 5 million square meters of real estate. Its major milestones are the skyscraper Istanbul Tower 205, the residential complexes Country Life Residence, Arcadium Life Residence, Real Life Residence, Blue Lake Residence, the shopping and leisure centers Historia Mall and Aqua Florya Mall, the Crowne Plaza Hotel Florya, the themed aquarium İstanbul Aquarium, and the multipurpose center Koru Florya Residence&Mall. The company is one of the top ten developers in Turkey.
In 2019, a representative of the family business, Mehmet V. Saçaklıoğlu, founded JSC Bosphorus Development in Ukraine and chaired its board.