Interview with Koral Bozkurt
There are many reasons to why we wanted to see Koral Bozkurt, who is both the Chairman of the Board for Northernland Construction and also for the Northernland Group of Companies. What we were really interested to find out were details of the Grand Sapphire Resort project. At a time when most companies are thinking twice about building new projects, a project such as Grand Sapphire Resort is growing and attracting large investments from various countries, all contributing to the island’s economic growth.
We wanted to learn about the overall economic situation of the island, foreign investors and modern architectural aspects.
- Mr. Bozkurt, Boss at the office, Chef at construction sites, Chairman of the football club. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I graduated from EMU in 1999 from the Department of Architecture. After completing my military service, I worked in England and North Cyprus for 2 years for various private companies. In November 2003 I established Northernland Construction Ltd. and have built about 3,000 residences since then.
Over the years we expanded our services and founded Cyprus Ways, which is a car rental company and stepped into the entertainment sector with Thrones Club. We have FitPlus in the health and sports sector and Soulfood in the restaurant sector. Finally we took a large leap into the tourism sector with Grand Sapphire Resort. With all of these combined we transformed Northernland into a group of companies. As part of our corporate social responsibility, we supported the local football team MTG and I was elected as chairman 2 years ago. With this position, I am able to serve the local residents of Famagusta. We are supporting nearly 400 children and young adults in the MTG foundation and integrating sports into their lives. This will create a healthier generation. This in the greatest gift we can give them.
- How does it feel to complete high buildings in North Cyprus and can we say you have no real competitors as you won both awards for Best High-Rise Architectural Design at the recent Propertync Awards?
Of course we are proud to not have close competitors in this category. Having won two architectural design awards, for both Grand Sapphire Resort and the Northernland Premier project, it left us speechless on the night; especially as our company received the first award of the evening. In addition to these, it is also important to see other companies following our example of high buildings, because it will protect the green areas on the island. We can say this high-rise trend started with our Alasya Park project in Famagusta.
Nowadays, Grand Sapphire is the largest and highest project in North Cyprus, where only 19% of the land will be used for construction. The rest of the land will be green areas, offering social areas for residents and their children; a place to live in, surrounded by nature. This has encouraged very positive feedback from our investors and agencies, it must have also impressed the jury members too, for they believed we deserved these awards.
- We can see how much you appreciate nature and the environment as a company. Another point we would like to discuss is the infrastructure. Can you share your thoughts as an architect? The İskele Long Beach area is rapidly growing. Could you say everything is under control or should people have certain roles to play during this process of growth?
Firstly, Grand Sapphire Resort has its own infrastructure with its own solutions for drainage and water purification. All water produced after purification will be used to water the green areas and gardens.
Secondly, governmental permission has been acquired to complete the main road, bridge and underpass, along a distance of 50 feet between the Long Beach roundabout and the project. In addition to these, the road in front of the project has been increased to 50 feet. Also, I would like to add that the riverbed on the border of the project will be dried up and palm trees, which we are currently growing, will be planted. By doing this, the surrounding area will be completely green. The area will have no infrastructure problems.
In the İskele region as a whole, but more especially in this area, construction is happening fast. This means the municipality, together with the construction companies, must play a very important role. If companies focus on the environment, the roads and underpass projects, just like we are, Iskele will become a beautiful residential area. This project is not only an investment, it is the most important inheritance we as people who love our country can leave for our future generations. As the Northernland family, this is what inspires us the most.
- You have mentioned agencies and investors, what’s the situation on the sales of Grand Sapphire?
Northernland Construction Ltd. and Mimosa Homes have come together to create the Grand Sapphire Resort. At the moment, properties from Blocks A, B, E4 and E5 are for sale. In total there are 10 blocks with 1,574 flats. The project was launched in June 2019 and since then we have celebrated our 500th sale in December. Sales are continuing both locally and abroad. Due to Grand Sapphire’s location, close to the sea in Iskele Long Beach, its modern architecture and all-inclusive premises, we are now able to enter new markets. We used to sell properties in 18 different countries, this project has actually brought people to North Cyprus from 32 different countries; sales and market research is an ongoing process.
- High buildings bring modern trends and residential services are needed. You were one of the first to offer residential services in North Cyprus, with Viapark Residence you introduced the residential lifestyle to Famagusta. Are you promising more qualities with Northernland Premier and Grand Sapphire Resort?
With Northernland Premier and Grand Sapphire Resort we are taking residential living to the next level. Each project will be run like a 5 star hotel, residents will experience the residential concept at a luxury hotel standard. Services will run 24/7, every detail required by owners and tenants have been thought of in great detail. Services such as security, reception area, spa, fitness centre, transfer services, concierge, market, souvenir shop and a hairdresser will all be provided in order to make life easier and more comfortable for residents by having all of these under the same roof. There will also be bus services to the beach and city centre from Grand Sapphire. You will be able to find everything you need without leaving the 75,000 m2 mini city complex. A residential lifestyle has become much favoured by our society and foreign customers. Today, property built by Northernland Construction has a higher rate of rental return and property values have increased by 50 % in 1 to 2 years. This is why property owners tend to buy their second or third properties from our projects.
- In the meantime your new office building, Northernland Centre, has been completed. It shines brightly on the road from Famagusta going to İskele. Congratulations. I think you felt the need for such a building due to having become a group of companies. It has 11 floors and a very eye-catching design.
We had to think of the future growth capacity of the company while building our new offices. It has been designed to cater for our growing capacity. We have given each department a separate floor and included open and closed working areas to improve productivity. Our employees become highly motivated and productive in a comfortable and happy working environment. Guests can be informed of projects in private meeting and conference rooms, all with exceptional views.
In this day and age, working people get to spend between 3 to 4 hours at home, but they are at work for at least 8 hours; this is why our working environment needed to be comfortable. This will positively affect the company’s future. Over time we have built a strong, trustworthy team and I believe not only our customers but also our team members deserve the best. We have made a large investment so that our young, talented members can have a place to gain experience, be happy and produce work of very high standards. We have created a work place that everyone will want to work in.
- Would you like to talk about your other projects on sale besides Grand Sapphire?
Besides Grand Sapphire, Northernland Premier will be completed in September 2020 and still has some availability, though there aren’t many flats left to choose from. In actual fact, less than 5% of the project, which consists of 314 flats and 18 shops, is still available. Factor in previous reservations and really only 3% is still available. We are extremely proud to have reached these numbers with just 7 months until the completion date.
We also have Northern Park with 44 flats. This project has been designed for investors and is located close to EMU and the Salamis main road; it is an excellent opportunity for long term leasing.
Lastly, sales of the second stage of Kent Plus are still continuing. The first stage of this project was completed in 2011 and consists of apartments, the second stage includes affordable villas located away from the busy city, yet close enough to everything you would need. It has a pool, children’s park and other facilities. For more information, come to our new offices where my team and I would be more than happy to answer your questions.