Life in Levent is a well-established habitat for work, living and is also connected to the rest of the city via both personal driving and public transportation.
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History of The Life in Levent
Levent is one of the traditional centers of living and business life of Istanbul. Life in Levent began with the villas that have been built in the 1960s which have been initially used for the residency of the upper-middle class. Five-story 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. The vast majority of these villas have been transformed into office use and still are being used as so. Apartment units in those four-story buildings have also turned into a mix-use of residential and offices, because of the easy accessibility and prestige of life in Levent.
First, high-rise buildings have also been built in Levent, initially as banks’ headquarters. The first major development was the YapiKredi Plaza in 1990, followed by the Akbank HQ building in 1993 and the İsTowers in 2000, which bears the signature of Swanke Hayden Connell Architects.
Some of the office units of majorly YapiKredi Plaza and İsTowers have been leased and occupied by third party companies including very reputable international bodies such as; Mitsubishi, IBM, and Fitch Ratings, which lead the way to the first plaza demand for offices, and so to the other escalation of the quality of life in Levent.
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The other side of Buyukdere Avenue was initially occupied by major pharmaceutical factories and such industrial buildings. In the 2000s, 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 serviced offices, virtual offices, and residences. The retail section of Kanyon is still sharing the top brands and is in position with Istinye Park, but on the other hand, Metrocity lost its glimmer.
Witnessing the success of these developments, major developers of Turkey began to build A-Class office buildings all the way facing Buyukdere Avenue. The vast majority of top local and international companies lined up 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 billion 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 a hotel and is operated by Raffles. Major activities taking place in Zorlu Performance Hall have 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 choices of residency and offices in Istanbul. Because Istanbul is in the earthquake zone, the rocky ground of Levent is giving people confidence. Easy access to both highways, public transport, restaurants, primary shopping centers and office buildings, proper planned urban settlement, and green streets are the main factors of the 24/7 life in Levent.
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Locating to 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 neighboring to major living centers such as; Etiler, Akatlar, and Ulus, as well as the bosporus lane through Ortakoy. Buyukdere Avenue and Nisbetiye Avenue; the main streets of Levent faces significant traffic jams in rush hours, but you do not feel this stress in the streets of Levent.
On the other hand, because the major high-end residential and office buildings are located directly on Buyukdere 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 site 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 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 life in Levent. The traditional landlines mentioned above are minibusses traveling between Sariyer to and from Besiktas, and municipality busses.
This destination also connects you to sea transportation from Besiktas, to Kadikoy and Uskudar. A little further travel with these landlines provides a connection to the Kabatas pier and T1 tram line. Kabatas pier enables you to reach the Anatolian side the same as Karakoy pier, and the T1 tram line reaches to historical semi-island and inner parts of the city.
Metro line is not just a line on itself. It is connected to Metrobus in Gayrettepe station, which enables access from far ends of the city; from Beylikduzu to Kadikoy (Sogutlucesme stop). Also connecting to Marmaray train line from the Yenikapi station, all the way from Halkali to Gebze, covering the entire Kadikoy coastline such as; Feneryolu, Suadiye, and Bostanci. A ten minutes walk from Sishane station connects you to the Karakoy pier, which has a variety of lines to the Anatolian side; which are Uskudar, Kadikoy, and Bostanci.
Life in Levent After Working Hours
As mentioned before, the first settlement of Levent has begun with residential use in the 1960s and commercial use of residential units began in the 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.
Working Life in Levent
As mentioned before, there are three types of offices in Levent; modern office buildings (plazas), villas, and traditional residential apartment units. Modern office buildings are either connected to a shopping center due to their mix-use nature or have easy access to those. These shopping centers are also a solution to the car park problem for extra parking space needs or guest car parks. 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. The 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 in Istanbul.
People Who Prefer to Live in Levent
Levent has traditionally been one of the primary choices of the upper-middle and middle class of Istanbul. Villas have been preferred by the wealthier, and apartment buildings have been demanded by the middle class. With the construction of new residential towers on Buyukdere Street and the conversion of villas into offices, the wealthy’s preference switched to such structures. Today, residential towers are occupied by the wealthy class of Istanbul, 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 Istanbul inhabitant.
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