Eilat's King City

Leviev's King City in Eilat may open on Shabbat

Elran Real Estate, which co-owns southern city project together with Africa Israel, looking into option of opening park on weekends, Jewish holidays due to project's financial difficulties

Will religious businessman Lev Leviev be forced to allow one of his businesses to be open on Shabbat? Elran (DD) Real Estate Ltd., which is owned by the Dankner family, recently announced in a presentation to its investors that it is looking into opening the King City in Eilat – which it co-owns with Leviev's Africa Israel company – on weekends and Jewish holidays.


The announcement was made in light of the project's financial difficulties, which are making it difficult for the companies to pay back their bank debts. The company wrote in the presentation that it would work to open the park to visitors on Shabbat and on holidays.


The original contract signed between the park's founders states that the park would not be opened on Jewish days of rest, following a request made by Africa Israel (whose subsidiary controls 37% of the project).


According to Elran's announcement, "It was recently agreed to look into the matter and perform the required accommodations."


NIS 55 million in losses

In the first half of 2009, the project lost some NIS 11 million (about $3 million). In total, it has accumulated losses of NIS 55 million ($15 million) since it was opened.


The park's revenues stood at NIS 8.8 million ($2.4 million) in the first half of the year, compared to NIS 12 million ($3 million) in the same period last year. The cash flow for the first half of the year was negative, totaling NIS 11 million ($3 million).


King City is an attraction park located on Eilat's southern lagoon, which borders the Herods and Sport hotels and an empty field slated to be used for expanding the lagoon for watercraft.


The four-story building includes another two partial roof floors, and the entire compound stretches over 16,000 square meters (172,222 square feet). The park is designed like a palace and its theme is the Bible stories and the stories of King Solomon. The compound's attractions include 3D films, an interactive cave, slides up to 26 meters (85 feet) high, a sailing route, a food compound and stores.


The park was partly opened to the public on July 2005, and fully opened on September that year. It has had some 1.3 visitors since its establishment. Each visitor has spent an average of NIS 110 (about $30) at the park.


The site's management was replaced last year after it failed to meet its objectives. Accordingly, the company decided to invest NIS 3 million ($812,000) in renewing the attractions every four years. In March, Africa Israel presented an expert's opinion which evaluated the project's market value as a "going concern" at some NIS 127 million ($34 million).


פרסום ראשון: 10.26.09, 08:02
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