Lone house resisting urban project in Istanbul demolished

The 'lonely house' standing in the middle of a construction site in Istanbul's Fikirtepe district has finally been demolished on Thursday as part of an urban transformation project

The 'lonely house' standing in the middle of a construction site in Istanbul's Fikirtepe district has finally been demolished on Thursday as part of an urban transformation project

ISTANBUL - The “lonely house" that was standing in the middle of a 300,000 square-meter construction site in Fikirtepe, an area on the Asian side of Istanbul, was finally demolished on Thursday.

The house became the symbol of resistance against an urban transformation project in Fikirtepe as it stood, alone, atop a small butte, surrounded by a vast hole, where all the others homes had once been.

The owner Alaaddin Demirel, approved the demolition of his house on August 4, following a three-year stand-off with Vartas Holding, the real estate development company that carried the project. He was refusing to give up his house unless the company offered him, what he would consider to be, a satisfactory deal.

Omer Faruk Barata, chairman of Vartas Holding, said Demirel recived five apartments in exchange for his house.

"For three years, I had discussions with 12,000 people, individually," said Barata. "We have spent more than $9.2 million and we have yet to start the project." 

Within the scope of the project, a variety of luxury high-rise towers, lodging 50,000 apartments, are to be built in the next three years, according to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning. And there remain 6,300 more houses to be demolished as part of the project. The ministry estimates that only 3.2 percent of these houses are in good condition, i.e. earthquake resistant.

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