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Istanbul Golden Horn to Lure $500 Million Hotel Projects

Istanbul’s Golden Horn, a waterway that sheltered Roman, Greek and Byzantine ships over thousands of years, is set to attract five hotel projects costing about $500 million.

One of the hotels, slated to open next year, will be operated by Switzerland’s Moevenpick Holding AG, while another will be run by Turkish furniture maker Lazzoni Mobilya Insaat Turizm Sanayi & Ticaret Ltd. Sti, said Alaeddin Babaoglu, who provided consulting work on the projects as chairman of Istanbul-based Amplio Real Estate Investments. Together, the five hotels will add 1,500 beds along the waterway, he said.

The Golden Horn is attracting more investment as it competes with the Bosporus Strait for restorations, home building and hospitality. Hilton Worldwide Inc., the chain owned by Blackstone Group LP, has operated a hotel built by Amplio on the waterway since 2011, Babaoglu said.

“The Golden Horn will be a new attraction for Istanbul as more tourism investments are under way,” Babaoglu said.

The three other hotel projects to start next year are by Turkish construction groups that may sign operating agreements with international hoteliers, Babaoglu said.

Lazzoni’s hotel will cost about $25 million and will open in the summer of 2014, Chairman Yasar Kababulut said in a phone interview today. The company will operate the hotel itself under the Lazzoni brand after failing to reach a deal with international chains, he said. Movenpick’s existing Turkish hotels are in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir, according to its website.

Housing Project

Amplio is two-thirds owned by German entrepreneur Erwin Walter Graebner, with the rest held by Babaoglu. The company plans to build a housing project on 25,000 square meters (270,000 square feet) of land on the Golden Horn, according to its website.

The partners at Amplio Real Estate Investments plan to turn the company into a real estate investment trust next year, Babaoglu said. Turkey’s capital markets regulator requires REITs to sell shares through an initial public offering within three months after being founded, he said.

Amplio plans to more than double its sales this year to more than 30 million liras ($15.4 million), Babaoglu said.

Marion Schumacher, a spokeswoman for Moevenpick, didn’t immediately return an e-mail and a call seeking comment on the sale.

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