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Netanya's tourism industry has received a shot in the arm from a group of Jewish investors from Europe. The group, headed by an Austrian businessman, has purchased the first three floors of The Terraces luxury hotel project currently under construction in the city, for NIS 40 million.

The project, being built on a 3.3-dunam plot situated on Nitza Blvd., near the sea, will have 30 stories of hotel rooms and apartments. The approved plans for the hotel section have 60 suites, although the developers have applied for permission to add another floor. If this application is rejected, the price of the deal with the investors will be reduced by a few hundred thousand shekels.

A few of the European group's members have franchisee rights to operate Kempinski boutique hotels, and may have plans to integrate The Terraces into the Kempinski chain. The main investor in the group also purchased two five-room apartments in project, for about NIS 4.8 million.

In Netanya, they're hoping that successful completion of the project will revive tourism in the city's hotel strip, which has fallen on hard times in recent years. A few of the hotels have had to close down, while others have survived by converting some of their floors into residential apartments and then selling them. Even though Netanya City Hall is promoting investment in the town's hotels, the emphasis has not been on the city center, but rather on the new neighborhood of Ir Yamim, where there are plans for a strip of hotels and other tourism projects.

The Terraces project is being built by Benny Rubinstein's B.S. Rubinstein and its partner, Baudelaire Investments, which is controlled by English businessman Jonathan Faith. So far about NIS 200 million worth of apartments have been sold, including one that went for NIS 23.5 million, the most expensive apartment sold in Netanya last year. The latter is a penthouse on the 28th floor, measuring 640 square meters plus a 400-square-meter balcony and a private swimming pool. About half the buyers in this project, considered one of the most expensive in Netanya, are foreign residents.

Y.G. Bouaron Building & Renovations is doing the contract work on the project, which was designed by Gabi Tetro Architects.