Two weeks in Netanya is more than enough to observe that the city is undergoing a major facelift. In the city center, many buildings have a sign in the front advertising the building renovation, supervised by “Halat,” the Company for Netanya’s Development and Tourism. This company is under the auspices of the Netanya Municipality, which has good reason to want to revamp the worn buildings in the city center. Halat helps individual housing committees (Vaad Bait) navigate the renovation process. The Kikar (main square) is cordoned off and billboards boast a new chic look with lots of fountains. In addition to this, there are many buildings, which are being renovated and improved through the Tama 38 program, which enables reinforcement of older buildings (to current earthquake codes), while allowing the addition of extra floors, elevators (where needed) and penthouses.
Then there are the new areas of Netanya. Ir Yamin is the ritzy high-rise area, nestled between Ramat Poleg, the beach and the Iris Nature Reserve. Most of the buildings reach 30 stories and boast convenient access to the beach (which for some buildings is across the street), walking distance to the new upscale mall and easy access to the highway. There are two new hotels, the Ramada and the Island Suites, and plenty of new construction in Nat 600, an area also overlooking the beach, which has a new promenade, park and bicycle path. Not far from Netanya College, Kiryat Hasharon has sprung up, another new area full of attractive buildings, parks and young families. Finally, there are quite a few new complexes going up in the city center, some right on the Kikar (Square). And the prices are still high, but like most things in Israel, new construction prices and terms have to be negotiated.