Maras, Turkey—Global real estate investment manager Amstar has announced the opening of yet another institutional-quality shopping center in Turkey. Located in the underserved market of the city Kahramanmaras, the administrative center of the eponymous province, Maras Shopping Center targets a regional population in excess of 1 million. The asset, developed with Turkey-based Renaissance Development, is part of a three-asset portfolio worth an estimated €570 million (circa $745 million).
The four-story Maras Shopping Center sits on a 387,500-square-foot site at the junction of the main north-south and east-west highways. Dubbed Piazza Maras, the site’s location ensures Maras Shopping Center with maximal levels of pedestrian as well as auto traffic, as Amstar Global Partners President Jason Lucas declared in a news release: “Due to the project’s prime location and critical mass, we expect it to capture the city’s entire catchment area and be the leading attraction in Maras for the foreseeable future.”
Developed in 18 months, the retail and entertainment center was 95 percent leased upon opening. The property boasts 153 retail stores, 24 restaurants and cafes, a skating rink, family entertainment center and an eight-screen cinema. The first three level of Maras Shopping Center are anchored by lifestyle, fashion and homeware stores. The top floor, however, is reserved for the entertainment district, open kitchen concepts, outdoor cafes and dining terraces, housed under a large wood and glass skylight. The property’s design is signed by Hollywood-based architecture firm 5+ Design, and features both modern and historical architecture, with a number of elements drawing on the region’s specific geographic location. The use of stone and wood in the property’s design allow the retail center to easily integrate in the nearby landscape, giving a glimpse into the future of urban development for the Southeastern Turkish city.
Maras Shopping Center is the fourth operational retail center developed in Turkey by the Amstar—Renaissance Development joint venture. The partnership’s completed projects include the award-winning Kozzy Shopping Center in Istanbul, the also acclaimed Adana Optimum in Adana and the recently opened Piazza Samsun Shopping Center in Samsun. The latter opened in April 2013 and is one of the largest shopping centers in Turkey. The property features 710,000 square feet of gross leasable area and was 98 percent leased upon opening. It boasts 165 international and domestic retail shops, 31 cafes and restaurants, a 10-screen cinema, skating rink, bowling alley and 1,700 parking spaces. Samsun’s first five-star hotel, the 163-key Anemon Samsun expected to open in May 2013, is also part of the project. A fifth shopping center, dubbed Piazza Urfa is currently under development by the same partnership in the city of Sanliurfa. Expected to open in November 2013, the property will offer 506,000 square feet of leasable area, bringing the joint venture’s Turkish retail portfolio to an estimated 2.7 million square feet.
Amstar capitalized Maras Shopping Center along with Piazza Samsun Shopping Center and Piazza Urfa through Amstar Global Property Fund II, Amstar’s second international real estate development fund. The fund closed in mid-2012 after reaching its €95 million (circa $124 million) equity commitment from institutional and high net worth investors from Europe and the US. Amstar Global Property Fund II invested in the three-project portfolio along with Renaissance Development, Amstar’s Turkey-based partner. The Renaissance portfolio includes 30 million square feet of commercial space and 11 shopping centers in Turkey.