Modern-day Istanbul is a city where high-rise buildings punctuate the skyline, seamlessly coexisting with tall, slender minarets, creating a unique blend of the contemporary and the traditional. This urban development, perceived as a revival of the property and hospitality sector in Istanbul, is attributed in part to foreign and domestic investment. BLG Capital, established by Serdar Bilgili, a former president of a Turkish football club, stands as one of the leading private equity firms in Europe, specialising in strategic property developments.
Once known as Byzantium and later Constantinople, this city thrived as a vital Silk Road hub, absorbing the influences of Romans and Ottomans into its architecture, cuisine and cultural heritage. This rich historical tapestry is intricately woven into the city’s fabric of luxury hotels, apartments and private clubs. Food enthusiasts can savour Michelin-starred restaurants and rooftop dining, while chic districts offer a shopper’s paradise — some also serving as a port of call for ocean liner cruises. The city also has a thriving art scene with museums and art fairs.
As I press the button on my armrest, the leather seats in my limousine gracefully recline as we navigate through traffic. I ponder what the Ottomans would have thought of the city’s congestion problem. Still, with a television, a sound system blaring some Turkish rap tunes and of course, a humidor — because nothing says ‘luxury’ like contemplating life while puffing on a cigar, this ride is perfectly equipped for what might be a long journey ahead.
While you might not be familiar with the private equity firm, BLG Capital, chances are you’ve heard of some of the luxury brands that are part of BLG Capital’s 21 properties. These include The Peninsula Istanbul, Soho House, The Ritz-Carlton and W Istanbul.
BLG specialises in property investment, asset management and high-quality, complex development projects. Leveraging its well-established local and international relationships, along with internal market research, BLG Capital identifies unique off-market investment opportunities in luxury real estate and the hospitality sector. The firm then presents these prospects to institutional investors through specialised platforms, facilitating their participation in the property market.
BLG Capital has made a substantial financial commitment, with a total equity investment of $2.5 billion and a capital responsibility of $8 billion. In addition to its properties in Istanbul, the firm boasts an international portfolio that includes cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami.