Controversial villa project in UNESCO-listed town to proceed: report

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An almost failed villa project from Turkey.

The construction and sale of controversial château-style villas in a Turkish UNESCO-listed town will resume after the reversal by a court of a bankruptcy decision against its developer, according to the Hürriyet Daily News.

The project included 732 villas, a shopping center, a hotel, a mosque and public spaces in the western Black Sea province of Bolu’s Mudurnu district, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2015 and became a member of the international Cittaslow Movement in 2018.

The $200 million project, which started in 2011, was halted last year after its developer applied to a court to restructure its debts with its creditors. Instead, the court decided on bankruptcy in November 2018. After securing special permission from the Directorate of Bankruptcy in January, the developer continued to sell the completed villas to buyers from Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“We have discharged 50 percent of our debt during the judicial process. We will finish the project in 2021,” said Mezher Yerdelen, chair of the Sarot Group, which owns the developer of the Burj Al Babas project.

A lawsuit against the Sarot Group for damaging a forested area is still pending in a Mudurnu court.

The architectural style of the buildings caused a public outcry on social media especially because of its contrast with the Ottoman-style historical mansions of Mudurnu.

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