One of the most prominent industrialists in Turkey is undertaking the construction of the 212 Istanbul Shopping Center and Residence project in Istanbul's İkitelli district on land he originally bought for YTL 2.
Nuri Akın plans to invest 205 million euros in the land, which he purchased for YTL 2 from the village of İkitelli's headman and village council in 1971. �The government encouraged the construction of cotton textile factories and investment in the field during the period, and we decided to invest in Edirne. However, during our search for appropriate land, we realized that the area is rather far from Istanbul,� said Akın, who is board chairman of Akın Holding.
�We consulted Turgut Özal (the undersecretary at the State Planning Organization, or DPT, at the time) and asked whether these incentives also applied to Istanbul or not. Özal said the state might provide incentives to the company if the company realizes investment in 50,000 looms instead of 25,000 looms. I informed him that our company could only realize this investment on a two-stage basis. He was very pleased with our answer and agreed to provide incentives for the company.�
Özal said the company then found the current 80,000-square-meter plot of land, which at the time belonged to the village of İkitelli. �I thought that we would get the license of the land from the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, but the village headman and the village council gave the license of the land to our company.� On that land the company built the Edip Yarn Factory, the name of which derives from the first two letters of Edirne and the first two letters of iplik (yarn).
"There were only a farm and a limekiln in the region at the time. However, the region has witnessed a notable improvement afterwards as many factories were constructed in the region," he added.
The company opened the Edip Yarn Factory in 1972. In 1994 they offered $50 million for land owned by a French company for the construction of a factory on the land. �We were planning to earn considerably from this investment; however the French company stopped its investments in Turkey and left the country following the 1994 economic crisis. It was the first time that we thought about constructing a shopping center,� Akın said.
�We moved our factory to Lüleburgaz in 2005. We are undertaking the construction of 212 Istanbul at the moment and the residents of Istanbul and Bağcılar will take pride in the project after it is completed,� he added.
The company plans to complete the construction of 212 Istanbul in May 2009. The project is comprised of a shopping center and 540 residences. The project will cost the company 205 million euros, 115 million euros of which is allocated for the construction of the shopping center.
�I like this sector. I had difficulty in terms of coming up with an investment area after our company sold its shares in Tekstilbank. I have been working 16 hours a day at the moment and I am pleased with it,� Akın said. �Our priority is to complete the construction of this project. Later, we will search for and evaluate the appropriate real estate in Istanbul. Meanwhile, we will also continue to invest in the textile sector.�