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(photo credit: Courtesy Photo)
Businessman Sami Shamoon's real estate development firm Yakhin-Hakal has begun work on a "giant project" that will combine offices and an entertainment complex at Ramat Poleg in Netanya, at total investment of nearly $100 million, Netanya City Hall said Sunday.
"Construction of this giant project at Ramat Poleg will help further reinforce the city as a focal point of industry, commerce, entertainment and tourism," commented Netanya Mayor Miriam Fierberg-Ikar.
The project will include 40,000 square meters of office space; 15 Globus Group movie theaters covering 3,500 square meters; 2,500 square meters of restaurants and cafes; a 1,500-square meter entertainment complex for children; and an auditorium for live performances and a discotheque - each covering 1,000 square meters.
Several businesses have already said they would open shop in the complex, including Cafe Aroma and chocolatier Max Brenner, which intends to operate a boutique cafe.
The center is expected to open in March 2007.
In real estate deals abroad, Engel Group said Sunday it was expanding operations in Romania ^with a residential and commercial project that was expected to generate NIS 450m. in sales, only a week after the developer entered the country with another project that mixes housing and retail.
"Recently we have examined a number of projects in Romania, and we saw fit to add this country - whose real estate market is expected, in our estimation, to enjoy significant growth in the coming years - to the list of countries in which we are active," said group chairman Ya'akov Engel.
Both projects are located in Bucharest. The more recent project will include 500 residential units covering 50,000 square meters, with 10,000 additional square meters dedicated to commercial space.
The group is also examining projects in other Eastern European countries in which it is already active. Engel's projects in the region include more than 12,000 housing units, the group said.
Separately, the Electra Group said it had agreed in principle to acquire three lots in Lithuania for NIS 33m., on which it would build more than 1,000 housing units together with an unnamed local business partner.
"We consider the Lithuanian real estate market to be very attractive, and our entry into it is part of Electra Ltd.'s strategy to develop all branches of its operations simultaneously, including the [real estate project] initiation branch, that we began developing this year," said Electra CEO Itamar Deutscher.
Property prices in Vilnius have been growing at a 15% yearly average, amid negligible inflation and fast economic growth, Deutscher noted, adding that the country's mortgage market is "comfortable," with banks willing to fund 75%-80% of a residential price tag.