Showing posts with label Construction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Construction. Show all posts

Monday, March 12, 2018

Unequal Wealth: Building Boom is One Consistent Factor

New construction near the central train station, Tel Aviv is filling every nook and cranny with new construction © D-A Vider
Israel's economy has been on an economic growth spurt for over fifteen years. The GDP statistics somehow are not reflecting the reality on the street. The first obvious sign of prosperity is steady building trend, especially in high rise apartments and office buildings. In the central region, there is actually less building than in locations at the edge of Gush Dan (Dan, the central region of Israel). The real estate inflation, especially the residential apartment costs, which were going up at 5% to 8% annually for over a decade. Many visitors to Tel Aviv are surprised by the change in the city in the last five years. Foreign drivers find themselves at a lost when trying to retrace old routes but confused by new construction. In the section of Tel Aviv near Azrielli towers (left white and gray buildings in the photograph) and the central train station, construction is now at a strong growth. A new light rail project with under and above ground tracks is also now in works. So why it seems as if Israel is on an economic growth spurt on the ground but the economists are reporting average of 4% the last 15 years? (see chart below)


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Night Time Construction

Night time construction in Givatay'im. Old water & sewer pipes layed out 50 and 60 years ago were not designed for the population density and modern lifestyle. Some say a good problem to have © 2016 - D-A Vider
Israel's central region seems to be always under construction. When you look at the Tel Aviv, Petach Tiqva and Natanya skyline there are cranes somewhere all the time. A few months ago my street was cut with small ditches for new sewer and water pipes. Israel's strong economy and growing population is pushing construction everywhere, even in densely built suburbs.

Monday, November 30, 2015

More dense construction in Tel Aviv & Surroundings

View of Ramat Gan and beyond (Judea hills in the background) with dense construction typical of Israel's central region

On the last post I mentioned how the green central region of Israel is slowly turning into a "gray" over-built "Brooklyn". It was a comment based on the view from Gan Ha'Banim (boys or children park) overlooking Ramat Gan (and some distant eastern Tel Aviv suburbs.) Tel Aviv and surrounding suburbs construction density reflects the waves of fast construction the last century (Tel Aviv's first big spurt was in the 1920s and 30s). Ramat Gan and Givatay'im, the suburbs east of Tel Aviv have seen bursts of construction in the 1950s to the 1970s. Today's central region of Israel, surrounding Tel Aviv, is densely populated. Most construction styles were low cost, fast in deployment and answered the need for housing after big immigration waves. The last wave of construction came with a million Russian (former Soviet Republics) immigrants starting in 1991. Today there are still empty lots being filled with the smaller buildings rising to eight stories. Taller buildings rise from fourteen to twenty four stories. The lower construction style is seen filling sections where most existing buildings are four stories high. In new areas, where land is designated for new neighborhoods, buildings are at minimum eight stories and rise to twenty four stories. Debate over the intent and overall result of high density, high-rise construction, is a constant hum in the media. Resistance to create dense neighborhoods, sometimes referred to "Israel's Brooklyn" after the construction of large residential buildings in the famous New York city borough is strong.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

New Ramat Gan Residential Construction (Kofer Ha'Yeshuv)

Stark contrast between old and new apartment buildings, Ramat Gan, Israel / @ DAVider 2015

Ramat Gan is still building residential units at a fast pace. First builders go after empty lots between existing buildings. They are also looking for older buildings with residents willing to "demolish and rebuild". A program backed by the state to renew older sections of the central region. Israel's central region is densely populated and demand for housing is strong. Housing prices have seen 10% rise in prices year-over-year for over a decade. With government statistics not exactly reflecting real street valuations. This makes affordable housing almost an impossible task for new buyers. High housing prices (including rentals) is pushing new construction at the high-end segment (luxury apartments are being built at a fast pace while affordable construction is very weak). This picture is a contrasting view between apartments in the old style (40 to 50 years ago) to the new construction. In the past, affordable construction was the state's priority. This is not the case with Benyamin Netanyahu's last two terms. Fast cement block and stucco beige outer walls is being replaced by glass and aluminum. Looks aside, very few Israelis are able to buy the new luxury homes.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tel Aviv High-Rise Construction

New hi-rise buildings in north Tel Aviv still going up fast @ DAVider 2015

Tel Aviv construction is still going strong with luxury apartments leading the sector. Parts of the central region, left undeveloped, are now starting to be filled with high-rise buildings. In areas from Tel Aviv to Petach Tikva, buildings with 24 to 32 stories are planned or under construction. Although the Israeli economic statistics are showing almost zero inflation and zero growth, in the construction sector this is now what we see. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Non-Existant Parking, Construction & Crowded: Tel Aviv Annoyances

Construction cranes are ever present in the Tel Aviv skyline | © Ami Vider 2014 
You have probably have seen magazine articles and blog posts rating the best places to live. There is always one about where people want to go (usually most expensive). Then there is one about the hidden gems where nobody goes but it's the best place for some reason. Usually the hidden gems are quiet and cheap and very remote. They are sometimes beautiful and relaxing. Tel Aviv does not make that list. In Israel Tel Aviv is the most expensive area and property growing at a steady pace. You can say it has been the place to go for 120 years now. It is not really a hidden gem, except for the people who have not been or simply don't believe how good a place it is. But, with all that demand and popularity, there are problems. Parking at Tel Aviv's streets is horrible and getting worst. City hall tried to encourage biking with a bike for rent program. The effort is wonderful, but still lots to be done. Construction is ever present in almost every part of town. It is also a bit of an annoyance when walking the streets. And finally, it's the crowds which suddenly materialize. Not to be compared with New York or Tokyo, which Tel Avivians compare. Yet at rush hours, streets, sidewalks, shops and cafes are brimming with people. Add to this a bit of aggressiveness (Israelis are not known for their manners) and you got an annoying situation. 

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fixing up Biyalik Street

Music center and library, renovated old Bauhaus building at the top of Biyalik street

One thing about the city of Tel Aviv, it has unbelievably beautiful old homes. From even before the city was considered a proper "city" in 1909, people here built with style. This means that some things need re-building once in a century or so. Biyalik street was probably called something else in the beginning. But Haim Nachman Bialik lived there for a long time, so it was named after him. Biyalik was one of the first famous Hebrew writers in Israel. He eventually became the national writer and kids have been reciting his poems ever since. Biyalik street is a small affair, something resembling a big alley more than a real street. For a long time it was in disrepair, probably because the city found much more important places to renovate. But the buildings on this street are beautiful example of 1920's architecture. Some are excellent Bauhaus examples, designed by the German Jewish architects who left their imprint on the city. Some are a mix of Arab and Turkish architecture that we call Mediterranean. But if you look carefully, they are quite unique. A blend of what at the time came from the history and tradition of the Arabs and the Turks with the knowledge and habits of the Jews from Europe, blend in a little "new-world" Jews who were not sure what would be their future in this land, but idealistic they were. So the building was half practical and half imaginative.

Biyalik street with old trees and 1920's Bauhaus architecture

On one side of the street is the Rubin Art museum. Rubin was an impressionist painter who captured Tel Aviv in it's early days with wonderful colors. Then there is the Biyalik house, a large building with the writer's work room preserved as it was used in his time. Today the Biyalik house is closed for renovation, probably taking advantage of the street construction. I have mentioned before how Tel Aviv fell into a bit of neglect in the 1980's and 90's. This was probably the doing of the hard economic and political times. With an intifada on one side and the tech business crash on the other, Tel Aviv was not in good shape. But today things seem to be a little better. These are not the boom days of the peak, but they are not low time either. With the stability and sanity of regular life, Tel Aviv is going about a huge repair effort. This little street resembles probably 10% of the city. Pavement and sidewalk that have not seen this side of a construction worker in 25 years (or more). Not to mention parking spaces and a bench to sit on. Biyalik street is getting a complete face lift. The street is now going to be one lane with marked parking on one side. The sidewalks are wide and newly paved with beautiful stones.
Biyalik house also being renovated

Biyalik street is only one of many in south Tel Aviv that needs a face lift. Repairing and keeping up a city is not a trivial task. It is also something that Tel Aviv has not done before. Cities like London and Paris have been keeping themselves re-newed for hundreds of years, Tel Aviv is just starting. But with what we have to start out with, the work is worth doing. It preserves our heritage and keeps us aware of how idealistic they were, in the "early years". Which sometimes we forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But than again, repairs to this wonderful old street is part of the hustle and bustle. Come visit Biyalik street in a few weeks, and you will get a nice street and two wonderful places to see, the Rubin Art museum and the Biyalik house. Read More...