Multi Development Turkiye is the 100% subsidiary of Multi Corporation and is the leader in the commercial real estate market in Turkey with nine operational Forum shopping centers, two more currently under construction, and eight in the development pipeline. REP asked Glenn Aaronson, former CEO of Multi and current Non-Executive Chairman of the Forum Turkey Fund, his vision of the Fund's role in the Turkish retail property market.
By Bernd Struben, Editor-in-Chief, REP
Turkey's been an appealing country for Multi to invest in for six years now. This is not the newfound appeal that other people in the marketplace may be finding. Turkey always had appeal for us in that it was a quickly developing country close to Europe; it had good demographics; it had an undersupply of modern shopping space; and it had an upwardly mobile middle class. The outlook for the economy, a stable government with reasonable laws and court systems to settle legal and property disputes, combined with continuing strong demographics and the current supply and demand ratios for real estate, all remain highly appealing. In Turkey it's not the rich that are getting richer, it's the lower classes who are moving up, and it's those people that are really driving retail. Turkey's young, growing population knows what is available in the developed world and they want it too.
Q: Can you explain the 'first mover advantage'?
Multi saw what Turkey had to offer before others did, and we took the first mover advantage, meaning we were the first movers internationally. Because of that first mover advantage we were able to build and deliver a lot of the premier shopping centers throughout Turkey, creating a great group of shopping centers at a time when there was the debt financing available to do so at a reasonable cost, which is much harder to come by today. With the first mover advantage we got prime locations, were able to bring in leading tenants, and were able to move to cities where no one else was operating. The Forum Turkey Fund is a product of that first mover advantage that Multi Turkiye had in moving into Turkey.