Eilat issues tender for amusements park on old airport site

Impression of Amusement Park on the runway of the old Eilat Airport / Imagin: Derman Verbakel Architecture

The hope is that the project will breathe new life into the coronavirus-hit tourist city.

The Eilat Municipality has issued a tender for the paid attractions to be built on the site of the old airport in the center of the city. The area up for tender is fourteen dunams (3.5 acres), part of a leisure and amusements area in the new. 145-duam (36 acre) park on the airport site. The tender is for the operation of installations such as a Big Wheel, a hot-air balloon, and so on. The area concerned is the southernmost strip of the land vacated when the new Ramon Airport was opened north of the city.

Or Karniel, head of the Terminal Park Administration, says that the precise mix of attractions will be determined later. "This tender offers developers an area of fourteen dunams, divided into smaller plots. The developers will be able to construct attractions there at their expense, installations such as at the Luna Park in Tel Aviv. Each installation will be an independent, separate business." Karniel says that the park will open in late 2021.

Alongside the paid amusements area will be a free amusements area, partly built along the former runway. The leisure area will include an open park connecting the east and west sides of the city, with a network of paths, and shade. In addition, a festivals area built out of old containers is planned for 70 dunams (17.5 acres), with a performance space, a camping area and rooms for overnight stays, a veteran vehicles museum, and more. The old terminal building will also be part of the park, and will become a municipal cultural center. The planned investment in the entertainment area is NIS 170 million. The design of the park is in the hands of the Tel Aviv firm of Derman Verbakel Architecture.

"We're talking about the focal point of the city, a strategic and prestigious location, a stone's throw from the sea. We are creating a varied and beautiful area here, with a promenade and water games, a theater, a museum for cars. We think this place will be a magnet," Avi Cohen, CEO of the Economic Company of Eilat, the municipality's financial arm, told "Globes".

Eilat's urban plan, which was presented to the district planning commission in 2013 but has not yet been deposited, zones the former airport, which has a total area of 850 dunams (212.5 acres) mainly for residential construction and hotels. There is also the Terminal Park area, on the southern side of the airport site as mentioned, which is leased to the municipality by the Israel Land Authority for eleven years. The tender now being published is the first for the land that became available when the old airport was closed. Another tender, for the sale of the residential area, the official name of which is the Airport Quarter, was frozen because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The zoning is for about 1,000 residential units in two parts. The larger of the two tenders is for 645 units under the Buyer Price program. The new date for bids is June 22, with the tender expected to close about two months after that. The second tender, for 361 units, also under the Buyer Price program, is expected to be published when the first tender closes, and itself to close in late October.

The timing of tender is of great importance for the city and its mayor, Meir Yitzhak Halevi, after the coronavirus outbreak brought Israel's tourist city to an almost complete halt. A successful tender will indicate that businesspeople still believe in the city's economic strength. Shabtai Shay, head of the Eilat Hotels Association, puts the economic damage from the coronavirus at NIS 500 million.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 1, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Impression of Amusement Park on the runway of the old Eilat Airport / Imagin: Derman Verbakel Architecture
Impression of Amusement Park on the runway of the old Eilat Airport / Imagin: Derman Verbakel Architecture
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