The prestigious magazine Monocle has chosen Haifa as the leading city for investment opportunities in 2011. As part of a worldwide project, the magazine chose one state, one city, one region, one neighborhood and one street as attractive investment locations.
Chile, Berlin and Istanbul were also on the list, but were surpassed by Haifa, chosen as the city with the most promising business potential for 2011.
The December-January issue is an extended issue to mark the new year. The magazine's chief editors invited recommendations from the magazine's reporters and editors around the world, choosing the most promising and attractive candidates according to the attention each location attracts, the potential it has, and the steps being taken to fulfill that potential.
The magazine chose Haifa, one of the most important regions of the British Empire up to the Second World War, and today Israel's third largest city.
Haifa. To read the magazine's article, click here.
Halting negative immigration?
According to the magazine, the city has been in decline for the last few decades. Despite its amazing location on Mount Carmel, the last 15 years have seen the population go down. Even the two institutions of higher education located within its boundaries have been unable to reverse the trend, and young people continued to go to Tel Aviv.
"But a massive head-to-toe regeneration is starting to have an impact – from scaffolding and cranes around town, to renovated facades and new smart places to eat," the magazine wrote.
"The municipality has spent more than $350 million on infrastructure and roads, and the number of building permits has risen 83% in the last two years. According to the municipality, 2009 was the first to show positive net immigration into the city."
"A crucial ingredient in the remaking of the city is the Carmel Tunnel, a $400 million project due to open at the end of 2010," the magazine notes. "The 6 km tunnel connects the southwestern part of the city with its northeastern part, cutting dramatically the amount of time needed to cross town."
Thanks to infrastructure
The light railway, due to start operating in 2011, and the cable-car which will connect the bay area with the academic institutions by 2013, also helped in getting Haifa to the number-one place on the magazine's list.
“The overall agenda of the city renewal plan is to reconnect the city with its biggest asset, the sea,” the magazine quotes Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, adding that the port's waterfront, "which was used for warehouses and became a hotbed of crime, is now rebuilt for residential and commercial purposes."
"Acknowledging Haifa as the 'city of the future' is a compliment but also obliges us to act," said Yahav following the magazine's choice of Haifa. "We began changing the business atmosphere about seven years ago. We changed trends and made the city entrepreneur-friendly."
"We acted according to a clear plan," he adds. "We set ourselves targets, assisted by enormous resources and the largest development budgets in Israel of over NIS 500 million ($137 million) per year. We launched a series of projects in a range of fields, and we are now enjoying the results."
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