The master plan and phased build-out of Mamilla Center is located at the center of Jerusalem’s old and new cities. Safdie began his involvement with its rebuilding in 1972 with an urban design framework and has continued to guide Mamilla’s transformation with the gradual development and design of housing, retail, two hotels, a bus terminal, underground parking, apartments, offices, and a network of public spaces. The master plan called for recreating a park in the historic Valley of Hinnom. On the south bank are 250 residential units and a 385-room hotel; on the north bank is a bus terminal, public parking for 1600 vehicles, and a two-level pedestrian shopping street with 300,000 square feet of retail space as well as apartments, offices, and a second hotel. Bridging the seam between old and new Jerusalem, Mamilla succeeds as the physical and cultural manifestation of an open society. The street organizes a diverse program that traverses the city, bringing people together and unifying previously separate districts.
With a designated developer in 1986, Safdie was retained to undertake all building on the site. In 1994, the development team was expanded to undertake the next stage of building, including the Mamilla Hilton and the residential and commercial sectors. Consideration for the historic character of the area, as well as detailed market, economic, and transportation analyses were integral parts of the planning process. With the housing, hospitality, commercial, and open space components now in place, Center balances historic structures with the design of new buildings, emphasizing the street as a crossroads and connector.