Hadera, located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, stands astride the Haifa-Tel Aviv railway line and main highway, as does its neighbor to the north, Binyamina. However, only Binyamina has become something of a favorite with young professional families.This is an excellent location for professionals, since it enables them to easily get to work anywhere along the coastal strip, the economic powerhouse of the country. But while Binyamina has become the abode of the rich and the beautiful, Hadera has remained something of a backwater.Like many towns in Israel, Hadera developed from one of the agricultural settlements founded in Turkish Palestine in the late 19th century. It was one of a cluster of five settlements in the area, the others being Pardess Hanna, Givat Olga, Zichron Ya’acov and Binyamina. The land that makes up Hadera was bought in 1891 by Yehoshua Hankin, and was settled by pioneers from Lithuania and Latvia.Recent transactions• A single-family, five-room, 140-sq.m. home on Hashikma Street on a 250-sq.m. plot was sold for NIS 1.27 million.• A three-room, 78-sq.m. apartment on Aliya Street, on the first floor with no parking, was sold for NIS 680,000.• A relatively new, five-room, 110-sq.m. apartment, on the eighth floor with parking and elevator, was sold for NIS 1.1m.• A four-room, fifth-floor, 98-sq.m. apartment on Nitzanim Street, with parking and an elevator, was sold for NIS 840,000.• A five-room, 111-sq.m. apartment on Hativat Hanahal Street, on the fifth floor with parking, was sold for NIS 960,000.• A three-room, 90-sq.m. apartment, on the second floor with no parking or elevator, was sold for NIS 575,000.• A new, four-room, 104-sq.m. apartment, with parking, elevator and storeroom, was sold for NIS 970,000.• A new, five-room, 158-sq.m. apartment, on the fifth floor with parking, elevator and storeroom, was sold for NIS 1.29 million.• A four-room, 130-sq.m. apartment, on the third floor with parking, elevator and storeroom, was sold for NIS 1.24m.They had a rough time, since most of it was swampland suitable for raising water buffalo and reeds – not the kind of land preferred by those who wanted to grow wheat and vegetables.The pioneers had to engage in the backbreaking work of draining the swamps, which involved planting Australian eucalyptus trees that consume prodigious amounts of water.They also brought in expert labor from Egypt to assist. Slowly but surely, the swamps were drained, making the area capable of growing vegetables and citrus trees.But it was a costly endeavour in terms of human lives. Old tombstones in the local cemetery reveal that out of a population of 540, 210 died of malaria. Hadera developed slowly, but it soon became both an agricultural settlement dedicated to growing food, and a market town and administrative center for the surrounding areas. The city’s population began to grow in earnest after Israel attained independence in 1948, when the Jewish state was inundated by wave upon wave of immigrants. The population also doubled during the 1990s, in the wake of the mass immigration from Russia.Hadera, in any case, has grown steadily since 1948, when it had a population of 11,800. In 1955, the population almost doubled to 22,500.In 1961 it rose to 25,600, 1972 to 32,200, and 1983 to 38,700. The Russian immigrants doubled the city’s population in the 1990s, and currently the city has over 80,000 inhabitants and is projected to grow by 50 percent in the coming years.In contrast to the population, the socioeconomic mix has remained more or less the same. It is based on the demand for real estate from families and individuals who cannot afford the prices in the more expensive surrounding areas, such as Netanya to the south and Binyamina and Zichron Ya’acov to the north.This has had a stabilizing effect on real-estate prices and, as Avi Koresh, of the Hadera branch of the Re/Max Real Estate Brokerage, told Metro, “Prices in Hadera are steady; they fell slightly last year in the wake of the social unrest, but now they are back on track.In the future, however, the new Park neighborhood will bring big changes to the city.Park, when completed, will have 7,500 new residential units, which will add 30,000 inhabitants to the existing 80,000-plus. The new area is meant to attract the professional classes as a less expensive alternative to Binyamina and Zichron Ya’acov, but the apartments will be of a very high standard and incorporate all the latest technology.Park is expected to change Hadera’s socioeconomic level, and the new neighborhood has therefore enjoyed the municipality’s support – which has promoted the area’s excellent transportation connections, so as to attract the relatively well-off and welleducated. The new neighborhood is situated in the eastern part of Hadera. It is called Park because the municipality has planned a large park in its center, which will include an artificial lake, an open-air amphitheater, public physical training equipment and bicycle trails.Park is a multiphase project. Its first phase is being implemented now, and will contain semidetached dwellings as well as high-rise, 18-floor residential tower blocks and seven-floor apartment buildings. This phase will include the construction of schools and public facilities, such as commercial and health centers.One of the many development companies participating in the project is Shikun & Binui, which is building a project called Park Dreams. Dorit Sadan, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, told Metro, “We were surprised by the level of demand in the Park neighborhood. The combination of the excellent reputation of our company and the very central location of the Park neighborhood has become a winner. When the new Road 9 is completed, it will connect the area to Road 6, the Trans-Israel Highway – thereby upgrading the already excellent road links of Hadera.“When completed I have reason to believe that the new neighborhood will completely change the face of Hadera, and affect real-estate demand in the whole city,” Sadan said.In order to actualize this, they are offering real-estate prices that are up to 20 percent lower than those offered in the more upscale Binyamina and Zichron Ya’acov. While these prices are competitive, they are higher than those in Hadera as a whole.In Hadera, the average price for a four-room apartment in a 15- to 20- year-old building can cost from NIS 800,000 to NIS 900,000; a three-room apartment can cost from NIS 100,000 to NIS 150,000 less.A average four-room apartment in the new Park development, meanwhile, can cost from NIS 1.2 million to NIS 1.3m.