No photos of Bar Refaeli allowed

September 19, 2010 - 1:45 PM by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: A New Reality, Business, coexistence, General, Israeliness, Life 

The Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem

It’s going to be a shopping tightrope that its investors will be walking on when the Ramot Mall opens up next year in Jerusalem.

The capitol’s second biggest mall will feature many of the standard staples of Israeli consumer culture, like ACE, Super Pharm, FOX, To Go Shoes, Crocs and Lord Kitsch, Bank Discount and Steimatzky.

7,200 square meters (77,500 square feet) have also been rented for a range of stores following the American “shop in shop” concept like Walmart, including a number of well-known brands housed in one area.

However, what’s going to make the Ramot Mall different than most Israeli malls is its clientele. The Ramot neighborhood has some 50,000 residents, at least half if not more ultra-Orthodox haredim. While much of the potential market for the mall will come from the surrounding areas of Givat and Pisgat Ze’ev, French Hill and Ma’aleh Adumim, constituting a 300,000 population base, the mall will have to consider the sensitivities and restriction baggage that the haredi community carries with it.

Of course, the food will be kosher, like all the other Jerusalem mall. But it will likely mean no photo displays of Bar Refaeli at the FOX stores, there won’t be any hip hop piped through the mall sound system, and it will also likely mean most stores will stock goods catering to big families, so common in the haredi world.

Making the new mall attractive to secular Israelis yet palatable to haredi Israelis is going to be a tough task for the owners, Phoenix Holdings Ltd. of the Tshuva Group (70%) and Bayit Chadash Beyerushalaim Ltd. (30%).

The commercial area of the mall will be 22,000 square meters (about 237,000 square feet) over three floors, with tons of parking space in another three-floor parking lot and additional space outside.

Next to the Malha Mall, it will be the biggest mall in the capitol. But with the haredi influence, will it become another white elephant like the dismal Center One at the entrance to the city? It depends which side of the tightrope the owners fall on.


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