Baka is one of the more upscale areas of Jerusalem, and a new residential
project called Park Eight is the latest addition to Baka’s housing stock, a
neighborhood that abounds with stunning homes. Park Eight will offer ultramodern
apartments in one of the capital’s prime locations.
southwestern Jerusalem, Baka has some of the most interesting architectural
structures in the city. The neighborhood is bounded by Talpiot to the south,
Mekor Haim to the west, the Greek and German colonies to the northwest and Abu
Tor to the east. The official name of the neighborhood is Geulim, but very few
people call it by that name. Its original name, Baka, means “valley” in Arabic,
as the area is located in a valley between two hills.
was established in the early 1920s and became a garden suburb of the upper
middle-class residents of the Old City of Jerusalem, both Muslims and
Christians. At the start of the British Mandate period, the trend to leave the
Old City for the suburbs intensified. Affluent upper middle-class families
bought land in the valley and built homes.
The houses they built were
among the most beautiful private homes in Jerusalem. One of the major selling
points of Baka today is these beautiful homes. Some of them have been restored,
while others have been reconstructed as luxury apartments. The style is
eclectic. From an architectural residential perspective, Baka has some of the
most attractive houses in Jerusalem -- a mix of Mediterranean Oriental style
with a dash of British colonial architecture. The unifying architectural feature
is Jerusalem stone. Another unifying feature the area has retained is its rural
Baka is a vibrant community. It has a very large
English-speaking element of around 20 percent of the total population. English
is heard everywhere, and it is one of the reasons for the high level of demand
for housing in the neighborhood for natives of the US, the UK, Canada, South
Africa and Australia.
It is here, in the heart of the neighborhood, that
Asdan Israel is building Park Eight, a unique residential project that is
utilizing the last reserves of land in Old Baka. It will be a condominium
complex of unparalleled luxury and elegance in one of Jerusalem's most desirable
David Bleeman, CEO of Asdan, is very upbeat about Park
Eight. He tells The Jerusalem Post, “The project is unique. It is different from
other luxury compounds in Jerusalem, which tend to be empty most of the year.
Park Eight is situated in the heart of a thriving neighborhood and will be an
integral part of lively Baka, which has some of the city’s finest schools,
kindergartens and synagogues.”
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He adds, “In addition, there are only 55
apartments spread out on a large 7,000 square meter lot. The majority of the
apartments in the project are either garden apartments or penthouses; the
remaining floors contain only one or two apartments per floor. This feature
allows us to offer an unparalleled boutique living experience, with a lot of
attention given to each apartment. Many of our target clients are families that
have made aliya or hope to do so in the future “
Park Eight is indeed a unique
project. Set just off Derech Beit Lehem, it will offer an exclusive garden
residence retreat that is just steps away from Jerusalem's historic landmarks
and modern attractions. Featuring eight four-story boutique apartment buildings
with six or seven units in each building, there will be 55 dwellings in
Park Eight will set a new standard for luxury and elegance in the
capital. Work on the project began a few months ago, and residents will be able
to move in by the summer of 2016.
Residents of Park Eight will benefit
from the most advanced building techniques using the best quality materials,
ensuring a very high level of finish. These apartments are built with
state-of-the-art technology. They will also be suitable for prospective buyers
who are religiously observant, as they will have succa balconies, kitchens with
separate meat and dairy areas and Shabbat elevators.
amenities will include a residents’ lounge featuring a state-of-the-art fitness
room and a recreation center for children, a spacious park and an experienced
real estate management company that will preserve the project’s value for years
The project, designed by local architect Michal Della Pergola,
integrates old and new. The modern stone clad façade, with the old buildings
surrounding the project, is designed to blend into the 19th century urbanscape.
It bridges Derech Beit Lehem, with its lively shops and the green boulevard that
stretches through the project. The urban experience melts slowly until it blends
into a tranquil green park at the end. The design combines private gardens with
open squares and courtyards connecting the buildings.
The land on which
Park Eight is being built will be transformed into a beautifully landscaped park
with trees, flowerbeds, fountains, benches and a boulevard in the middle of the
eight buildings. This island of green will blend nicely into the rural ambience
of Old Baka Centrally located, Park Eight will be within easy access of
religious establishments, commercial centers, places of entertainment and more.
Yet it will be a quiet island of peace and tranquility. It will combine quality,
accessibility and serenity in one of the most upscale areas of
Ariyel Maresky, operations manager of Asdan, says, “Asdan is
an Israeli subsidiary of a leading Canadian development company, Medallion
Corporation. The company is fully oriented to the residential needs of Anglos,
with the added advantage of being an experienced Israeli development company.
This combination will ensure a design suited to the needs and tastes of natives
of the Anglosphere, with the efficiency and technological skills so necessary in
the construction process.”
All these features ensure that Park Eight will
be a fitting addition to Baka, an exclusive modern residential project in the
heart of Jerusalem that has retained its old world charm.
Baka was always
something of a hub primarily because the old Turkish railway station was located
at the edge. For that reason, the area was an important gateway to the capital,
a transportation link with the coastal regions. The old Jerusalem railway
station that was built in the late 19th century is a historical building in its
own right. Today, the station has been moved to a modern building, and the old
19th-century Turkish building has become an important cultural compound with
shops, restaurants and exhibition halls.
Baka underwent a dramatic change in the
late 1970s and early 1980s. The professional middle class recognized the
potential of this neighborhood and began to move in. They bought the
magnificent, if run-down, palatial homes surrounded by gardens and trees and
restored them to their former glory. Some of the larger mansions from the
Mandate period were subdivided into luxury apartments and became two- to
four-floor apartment buildings with lovely gardens and balconies. These
properties feature high ceilings and decorative entrances. Many also have arched
windows, and some even have cisterns for their own water supply.
levi, former CEO of the Jerusalem Development Authority and a Baka resident,
sums up the area in one word: neighborhood.
“The good old sense of the
word,” he says. “Residents know and greet one another, and intimate coffee shops
are pleasant meeting places for residents and visitors. The enchanting
architecture, together with the recently developed jogging and bicycle path
along the old train track, and the impressive reconstructed old railway compound
strengthen the neighborhood’s charm.”
Today, the residents of Baka are
mainly upper middle-class families and a mixture of religious and secular Jews.
For the religious sector, there are 10 synagogues, catering to all streams. The
neighborhood is also popular with English and French-speaking immigrants, and
during the past decade, new immigrants from the US and Europe -- France in
particular -- have bought heavily in the neighborhood, investing and further
upgrading what was already a highly desirable area. Derech Beit Lehem, one of
Baka’s central streets, is bustling with life and lined with shops, designer
stores, coffee houses, restaurants and more.
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