Much-maligned Coastal City Bids to Become Tourism Hub

Hadera Municipality promoting plan for new neighborhood on city’s northern edge, along the Mediterranean coast, that will feature residential areas in addition to hotels.

Noam Dvir
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Noam Dvir

The Hadera Municipality is promoting a plan for a new neighborhood on the city’s northern edge, along the Mediterranean coast, that will feature residential areas in addition to hotels. Of the 2,000 dunams in the new neighborhood, 1,100 are currently designated as open space.

The new development is planned for the area between Givat Olga and the Orot Rabin power station. The plans call for about 10,000 housing units, 1,400 hotel rooms and a 2.5-kilometer-long seafront promenade.

The neighborhood, which is provisionally being called “Ir Yamim” (City of the Seas), is a major element of the municipality’s ambitious plans for real estate development.

After years of stagnation, the real estate market in Hadera is attracting the interest of home buyers and developers, as reflected in real estate prices that have risen by 30 to 50 percent. The Ir Yamim plan is designed to provide a range of housing options and is also meant to launch Hadera as a presence in the tourism sector.

Plans for the neighborhood are being developed by architect Thomas Leitersdorf, whose office beat out nine other Israeli architectural firms.

“The key question,” Leitersdorf said, “was how to design an urban plan in advance in which the tourist and residential areas would contribute to each other.”

He said he wanted to avoid situations like that on Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Street, where he said the hotels are essentially separated from the rest of the city.

The Ir Yamim section of Hadera is included in the city’s new master plan, which has been submitted to the National Planning and Building Committee.

Other projects in which Leitersdorf has been involved include one in Netanya also called Ir Yamim, as well as Eilat’s southern beach and a seaside project in Abijan, in the Ivory Coast.

“One of the main aims of the master plan is to develop Hadera as a tourist city,” explained Hadera’s city architect and acting city engineer, Avishai Kimeldorf. “It’s not by chance that the Tourism Ministry is party to every stage of the planning.”

He added that the city already has areas zoned for hotels, but development of those parcels had never been a high priority. Kimeldorf said the city’s location on the Mediterranean Sea and ringed by parkland makes it attractive to visitors.

Another, less public aspect of the plan is the competition that Hadera is waging against Netanya down the coast for Tourism Ministry funding. Netanya currently has 1,400 hotel rooms that draw visitors from Israel and abroad. Plans for Hadera call for a similar number of rooms situated in a total of seven to 10 new hotels, and Kimeldorf said approval had also been secured for an additional 1,000 rooms along the coast.

He said the plan was not designed to compete with anyone else, but simply to position Hadera as a tourist destination. He also said the city’s tourism plans are less dense than those of Netanya, and that a shuttle was planned to transport visitors to various attractions around the city. In a bid to attract visitors from abroad, a golf course is also being considered.

According to the most optimistic projections, the first buildings in the new Hadera neighborhood should be built in three and a half to four years.

A rendering of housing units.