Turkey's Gold Rush: Is Istanbul's New Skyline A Boom or a Bubble?

Davide Monteleone-VII

Kemal Ataturk built Turkey's first railway in 1927. A new tunnel is being dug under the Bosporus.

With the windows on its towering blocks half-fitted and steel girders exposed, downtown Istanbul's Zorlu Center appears to be just another construction site. But step inside the sales office and the illusion begins. An elegant hostess walks you down carpeted corridors to a lounge where water trickles soothingly across a fake granite wall. Giant screens play 3-D trailers of the good life on offer at Istanbul's latest hot property, from indoor pools to artfully placed orchids.

Construction on the $2.5 billion Zorlu Center, which will include 200 luxury boutiques and a Raffles Hotel, is due to...

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