Life in Levent is a well-established habitat for work, living and is is also connected to the rest of the city via both personal driving and public transportation.
History of The Life in Levent
Levent is one of the traditional centres of living and business life of İstanbul. Life in Levent began with the villas that have been built in 1960’s which have which been initially used for the residency of the upper-middle class. 5 storey apartment buildings have also been built in this decade and have been preferred by similar people. In time, following the emerging of the private sector life in Levent has also adapted to that. Vast majority of these villas have been transformed into office use and still are being used as so. Apartment units in those 4-story buildings have also turned into mix-use of residential and offices because of the easy accessibility and prestige of the life in Levent.
First, high-rise buildings have also been built in Levent, initially as banks’ headquarters. First major development was Yapı Kredi Plaza in 1990, followed by Akbank HQ building in 1993 and İş Towers in 2000, which bears the signature of Swanke Hayden Connel Architects. Some of the office units of majorly Yapı Kredi Plaza and İş Towers have been leased and occupied by third party companies including very reputable international bodies such as Mitsui, IBM and Fitch Ratings, which lead the way to first “plaza” demand for offices and so another escalation of the quality of life in Levent.
The other side of Büyükdere Avenue was initially occupied by major pharmaceutical factories and such industrial buildings. In 2000’s life in Levent dramatically escalated in quality by the transformation of these factories into major mix-use projects; Kanyon and Metrocity which are still considered to be major high-end buildings for offices, serviced and virtual offices and residences. The retail section of Kanyon is still sharing the top brands and position with İstinye Park, on the other hand, Metrocity lost its glimmer.
Witnessing the success of these developments, major developers of Turkey began to build A Class office building all the way facing Büyükdere Avenue. The vast majority of top local and international companies lined up in order to be able to take place in these buildings which lead to a major change of business life in Levent.
Zincirlikuyu followed this transformation by Zorlu Center, which is still the biggest development investment in Turkey so far, by approximately 1.6 b. USD. High-end brands still occupy the retail section, the food court contains a variety of selections from fast-food to fine dining and residential towers are preferred by crème de la crème. One of the towers is being used as hotel and is operated by Raffles. Major activities taking place in Zorlu Performance Hall has also shifted entertainment of the life in Levent.
Traditional independent buildings are still very popular by white-collar people, upper-middle and upper class. Because of the era of the developments, the vast majority of these buildings do not have an elevator but still are one of the primary choice of residency and offices in İstanbul. Considering the fact that İstanbul is in the earthquake zone, rock ground of Levent is giving people confidence. Easy access to both highways, public transport, restaurants, primary shopping centres and office buildings, proper planned urban settlement and green streets are the main factors of the 24/7 life in Levent.
Locating to The Life in Levent
The Location of Levent probably has very few cons but mostly pros. The District has very easy access to both highways and bridges and neighbouring to major living centres such as Etiler, Akatlar and Ulus, as well as Bosporus Lane through Ortaköy. Büyükdere Avenue and Nisbetiye Avenue; the main streets of Levent faces a significant traffic jam in rush hours, but you do not feel this stress in the streets of Levent. On the other hand, considering the fact that the major high-end residential and office buildings are located directly on Büyükdere Avenue, reaching to and from these buildings in rush hours is a problem. And the mix-use nature of the traditional buildings and lack of parking space on the streets makes it tough to find a car park on the old side of the district. To sum up, transportation is not a major problem for the life in Levent for drivers, except for the parking problem in the old town.
Reaching to Levent with Public Transport
Levent is subject to a very enhanced public transport system. In addition to traditional landlines, underground transportation via metro line is also adding speed and comfort to the life in Levent. The traditional landlines mentioned above are minibuses travelling between Sarıyer to and from Beşiktaş and municipality busses. This destination also connects you to sea transportation from Beşiktaş, to Kadıköy and Üsküdar. A little further travel with these landlines provides a connection to “Kabataş Pier” and “T1 Tram Line”. Kabataş Pier enables you to reach Anatolian Side the same way “Karaköy Pier” and “T1 Tram Line” reaches to Historical Semi-island and inner parts of the city.
Metro line is a major instrument on itself. A 10 minutes walk from “Şişhane Station” connects you to “Karaköy Pier”, which has a variety of lines to Anatolian Side; Üsküdar, Kadıköy and Bostancı. Levent is also located walking distance to Metrobüs’s “Zincirlikuyu Station”, which enables access from far ends of city; from Beylikdüzü to Kadıköy (Söğütlüçeşme). Also connecting to Marmaray Train Line from “Yenikapı Station” all the way from Halkalı to Gebze, covering entire Kadıköy coastline such as Feneryolu, Suadiye and Bostancı
Life in Levent After Working Hours
As mentioned before, the first settlement of Levent has begun with residential use in 1960’s and commercial use of residential units began in 1990s. This was followed by major commercial developments which lead to a 24/7 living life in Levent. Leisure units: bistros, restaurants, cafés, pubs and such places serve all day long. Proper urban planning is providing a peaceful life all day long and a variety of shops in the district enables its inhabitants to satisfy any needs of theirs.
Working Life in Levent
As mentioned before, there are 3 types of offices in Levent; modern office buildings (plazas), villas and traditional residential apartment units. Modern office buildings are either connected to a shopping centre due to their mix-use nature or have easy access to those. These shopping centres are also a solution to the car park problem for extra parking space needs or guest car park. These office buildings opened a new era to the working life in Levent by design, function and security aspects.
Villas are more independent units preferred by major companies and consulates. Gardens of these villas are not only giving a fresh breath but also providing sufficient car park for occupiers and guests.
Residential units with office use are preferred by middle-tier businesses with limited staff and looking to benefit from the advantages of location and prestige of Levent.
No matter which one, Levent has always been the most popular and demanded location for business life.
People Prefer to Live in Levent
Levent has traditionally been one of the primary choices of the upper-middle and middle class of İstanbul. Villas has been preferred by the wealthier and apartment buildings have been demanded by the middle class. In time, as modern residential towers rose on Büyükdere Caddesi and transformation of villas into offices, choice of the wealthy people shifted to those buildings. Today, residential towers are occupied by the wealthy class of İstanbul, including the international community and traditional apartment buildings are hosting white-collar people. It is fair to say that, either for business or living, life in Levent is desirable for any İstanbul inhabitant.