The Israelis decided to buy a prison island in Norway: they will build a spa hotel

The Israelis decided to buy a prison island in Norway: they will build a spa hotel

An entrepreneur wants to turn the land into a tourist gem.

Businessman Eyal Almog wants to turn Norway's Ulvsnesoy island into a tourist gem. The island, formerly known as "Gypsy Island", was a closed prison for almost 100 years. When the decision was made to end prison operations in 2018, the island was purchased by private owners.

Israeli businessman Eyal Almog, about whom nothing was known to the general public until now, wanted to turn the prison island into a tourist attraction, writes Bergens Tidende.

The 94-acre site was sold in summer 2019 to Ulvsnesoy for NOK 11.8 million, 3.6 million above the asking price. The island consists of several buildings, beaches and farms. The real estate agent thinks this is a good deal for the seller.

Israeli businessman Eyal Almog from Tel Aviv owns 95 percent of Ulvsnesoy AS through the company Ulvsnesoy Holding.

The entrepreneur says he wants to turn the former prison island into a tourist attraction in cooperation with the company's two other shareholders, investors Rune Aasegg and Allan Freddy Carlsen. The Norwegians acquired the island in 2019 from the Ulvsnesoy skolehjem fund and now own 2.5 percent of the company's shares.

“I want to turn the island into a tourist gem. When I first visited this place, I was amazed by its natural beauty. I immediately thought that this is a gem that should be opened to the general public,” comments Almog.

The owner wants to convert the existing main building on the island into a hotel with an attached spa that will be open to the public. In addition, the developer wants to build 35 two-bed guest cottages, which would be sold on the condition that they be rented back to the hotel during the tourist season.

“This will ensure that the island can be visited all year round, even outside the ‘normal’ tourist season,” explains Hammer Architects CEO Hermann Hammer.

Prison Island has a long history. In ancient times there were monastic properties there. Then it was a shelter for boys who were called “deceitful and thieving.” The boarding school was founded in 1881 and was intended to be a “rescue and educational institution.” The Boys' Home closed in 1981, and Correctional Services has used the island as a prison ever since.

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