New Israeli Design Complex Going Up Across From Ikea in Netanya

Soho to offer seven floors of food, furniture and home decor, but no fashion or footwear.

In a move meant to lock in the status of Netanya's Poleg Industrial Area as a shopping magnet, a new "design and lifestyle center" is being built across from Israel's flagship Ikea store.

Soho, as the retail and commercial complex is called, will cost NIS 300 million to build and is projected to open in 2015. It is a joint project of Electra Real Estate and the Ben-Efraim real estate development firm.

The developers say the new center will complement the merchandise that Ikea sells. The 30,000-square meter center will include food, furniture and home décor shops, but no clothing or footwear stores. Each floor will be dedicated to one product category, such as hardware or ceramic tiles.

The center will also have space for restaurants and a farmers' market as well as offices for architects and interior designers, the developers say.

About half of the retail space has already been leased, at monthly rents ranging from NIS 50 per square meter for upper-floor office space to NIS 120-NIS 180 for midlevel retail space and NIS 270 for ground-floor locations.

Early-bird renters include retail chains Shviro, which sells patio furniture; the children's-furniture purveyor Etzmaleh and the Simmons bed and mattress company, the developers add. Plans also call for underground parking for 670 cars.

The center will occupy a 9.5-dunam lot (slightly more than 2 acres) bought in 2011 for about NIS 30 million. The opening of the Ikea store in 2001 transformed the character of the southern Netanya industrial zone. Since then a number of major retail shopping centers have opened there, in addition to high-tech firms.

Advance market research done for the developers of the Soho center by the Czamanski Ben Shahar consulting firm projected that the shopping center would attract about 170,000 shoppers a month, in addition to the 17,000 people who work in the area.

Alon Ron