Showing posts with label Housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Housing. Show all posts

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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Will Azrieli Center Fade as New Sky Scrapers Grow?

For the last fifteen years of being an unofficial symbol of Tel Aviv's success, Azriel Towers are slowly fading into a fast growing sky scraper skyline. For years, the three towers symbolized everything modern and business in the city. Until the construction of these buildings, Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, had a small collection of high rise buildings. Not impressive in international standards. But, things have changed dramatically the last decade and a half. Tel Aviv's skyline is rising gradually in a few central areas. Mostly in the north and east of the center, high rise buildings, between 30 and 40 stories are quickly changing the way Tel Aviv looks and feels. Will this mean a different image for the white city? Probably. Before Azrieli the city used a mixed of beach and old Bauhaus buildings as it's image. That quaint image was a reality of the 1920s to 1950s. Today, Israelis are just as likely to live and work on the 25th floor as on the 4th floor walk-up. Let's see what tomorrow brings. 


Friday, March 12, 2010

All Politics is Local: Biden, Netanyahu and Tip O'Neil

Tip O'Neil's famous quote: "all politics is local" comes to mind this week. I am commenting on Joe Biden the US VP's uncomfortable position with regard to Jerusalem's city planning board approval of 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem [Haaretz/EN]. Joe Biden came to make nice with Netanyahu and the Israeli leaders. Since peace negotiations with the Palestinians is crawling at a snail's pace, everyone wants to get the credit for bringing the two sides together. US president Obama is busy with domestic issues, he does not seem to be giving the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations any attention. Hillery Clinton tried her hand but did not win the hearts or minds of either side. So Biden was sent to give the negotiations a kick start. Biden came to make sure the Israeli's are not aggravating the Palestinians by building outside the green line. This is in keeping with the last agreement between the sides to cool down the bickering. On Biden's second day in Jerusalem the city's building authority announced approval of 1,600 housing units in East Jerusalem and up to 50,000 units outside the green line going forward a decade from now [Haaretz article]. This seemed like a planned "slap in the face" of Biden. Not so say most Jerusalem residents, Biden is not part of the equation this time and neither are the Palestinians


Monday, August 10, 2009

Netanyahu Pushes for Land Reform - Privatization for the People

Residential and commercial buildings in Israel are all built on leased land. This is going to change for the first time in 100+ years (N. Tel Aviv apartment buildings / © 2009)

Last week the Israeli Knesset voted to approve a land reform act. The law changes an old practice which the state owned the land in Israel. Most of the land in Israel was bought by the Jewish National Fund or appropriated by the state. Very little was transferred to individuals or organizations, today all state land is leased out to individuals and organizations. The law enables the state of Israel to sell 5% of the land to individuals, companies and organizations. For the first time in many parts of the country individuals will be able to own the land their homes or apartments sit on. The driving force here is the difficulty of having any building improvement approved by the Israel Land Trust (Minhal Mekarke'ei Israel), a government agency managing the land and leases. It will also ease new construction specially commercial and industrial construction in none urban locations. Strictly speaking any major changes to building on Israel state land needs the government's approval. The joke goes that to have a balcony closed you need to wait two years and even then you will not have your plan approved as you wanted. New construction approval is so difficult it has become a political game. Only large companies have been able to build regularly and in any significant scale.[see Ha'aretz]