Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Israel's party city, Tel Aviv, turns its beachfront to gold

From John Defterios, CNN
January 16, 2014 -- Updated 0210 GMT (1010 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tel Aviv's beachfront is home to some of Israel's most expensive luxury real estate
  • The waterfront district has generated more than half a billion dollars worth of investment in the last four years
  • Multi-million dollar property prices represent a big change for a city that was on its knees at the end of the 1990s

Editor's note: One Square Meter explores the leading architectural designs, city plans and demand for property investment in emerging markets. Join CNN's John Defterios as he visits some of the world's most dynamic cities for an insight into the fast-paced world of real estate development.

(CNN) -- There was a time when Tel Aviv's beachfront was just another neighborhood sandwiched between the city's bustling Namal port district and historic old town.

Not anymore. Today the area is home to some of Israel's most sought-after luxury real estate and has been dubbed the "Golden Kilometer" thanks to the rocketing cost of living space.

A seventeenth floor apartment of 600 square meters (6,420 square feet) here sold for $23 million recently, a record for Tel Aviv. In the same area, a rented unit of 300 square meters (3,228 square feet) is on the market for $10 million.

Kurdish capital's property boom
India's city of contrasts
Bangkok's high rise development
World's tallest residential tower

These premium prices represent a big change for a city that was brought to its knees due by large debts at the end of the 1990s. In the last four years alone, however, the waterfront property market has generated nearly half a billion dollars of investment.

See also: Where are the world's most expensive luxury properties?

The turning point can be traced back to the development of the city's Namal Port area. It was here that architects Ganit and Udi Kassif won the contract to renovate a huge space that had sat idle for 50 years.

The pair quickly set about creating quirky living and work space for the city's hip up-and-comers.

"This project started a real revolution," said Ganit Kassif. "After this many mayors said to us, make it like the Tel Aviv port."

Old empty warehouses in Namal are now filled with creative types and cutting edge retailers.

One of these young merchants is Shir Halpern, owner of the city's first organic market. Although initially skeptical about setting up shop in an old industrial space, he now sees the virtue of the location.

"At the beginning the port felt to me like too isolated ... too far from the vibrance (sic) and power of the city," Halpern said. "But looking back it was really a perfect choice."

See also: Could micro-homes offer big solution?

The lively, can do vibe of Namal has since spread to other areas of the city, including the beachfront.

But while the most lucrative properties may reside by the sea, the high end market can be found spreading to other districts as well.

Jaffa, an old fishing neighborhood to the city's south now hosts properties valued as high as $5 million apiece.

According to the city's mayor, Ron Huldai, however, Tel Aviv's fundamental landscape and attractions are what continue make it such an appealing place to live whether that be in a luxury abode or not.

"We have an excellent beach, excellent weather excellent food, restaurants," Huldai said. "Why not (have) people coming here to enjoy themselves?"

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0321 GMT (1121 HKT)
A new kind of location service could change the way we look at the world.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 0258 GMT (1058 HKT)
It's the townhouse that twists like a Rubik's cube, to bask in the summer sun and shield itself when winter bites.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
Could you fit your life into 300 square feet? Developers are betting on it, with new, tiny living spaces for urban millennials.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1716 GMT (0116 HKT)
Luxury hotels pry open Oman's parched but beautiful Jabal Akhdar mountain.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
Simon Chardiet sports a 'Die Hipster Scum' shirt while posing at Rockaway Beach on August 18, 2012.
Is the creative class ruining urban communities?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
Dubai is gearing up to host Expo 2020, but could a property bust spoil the party?
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 0821 GMT (1621 HKT)
Sanctions empty Tehran's poshest properties as prices sky rocket.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0441 GMT (1241 HKT)
Where are the world's tallest skyscrapers being built?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)
How do you feel about buying property? Scared of a bubble emerging where you live? Add your voice to our mood map.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
A room in a property valued at $1.1 million in London.
The garden is overflowing with weeds and trash is strewn across the lower floors. And it could be yours for $1.1 million.
ADVERTISEMENT