The District Planning and Building Commission has approved for validation an urban renewal plant in Givatayim. Gindi Investments 1 Ltd. (TASE: GIND.B1) has been pitching the project, which is on the Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) site, to the tenants for several years. Five old residential buildings containing 168 apartments on the 26-dunam (6.5-acre) site along Histadrut Street will be demolished and four 25-storey buildings with 500 new apartments will be built. The project is part of the Ministry of Construction and Housing's plan for local authorities.
The original plan recommended by the Givatayim Local Planning and Building Commission a number of years ago specified over 600 new apartments, but after the District Planning and Building Commission decided in late 2015 to deposit a plan with fewer housing units, the municipality changed its position, and a plan with 500 apartments was deposited at the District Planning and Building Commission in September 2016.
Objections to the plan were raised at the District Planning and Building Commission. Among other things, residents of the surrounding area submitted an objection, asserting that the plan would cause overcrowding in the entire area, and create "an urban chokehold that will threaten to drown the entire area in a catastrophe of enormous traffic jams, pollution, noise, commerce, and lack of parking." The District Planning and Building Commission rejected the objection, explaining that the plan provided an overall planning view of the entire site, with planning of a future light rail mass transit system able to provide a solution for residents of the area. Another objection against the plan was that the ratio of construction to existing housing units was too high, and the number of housing units should be reduced, but this objection was also swept aside. Still another objects stated that the required up-to-date transportation assessment had not been made for the plan. The District Planning and Building Commission also rejected this argument and dismissed the objection.
At the same time, the District Planning and Building Commission accepted an objection concerning the inclusion of 80 housing unit for student dormitories in the project, ruling that parking had to be built for the student dormitories according to the same standard as for the rest of the project. It should be noted that the plan allows the construction of student dormitories on the site in general, but there is no assurance that these will actually be built.
The District Planning and Building Commission also decided that each of the new buildings would contain 20% small apartments of up to 63 square meters of main space and 40% apartments of up 64-100 square meters of main space. The size of the rest of the apartments will be at the discretion of the party requesting the permit and the District Planning and Building Commission.
Appraiser Nehama Bogin, representing the Givatayim municipality, says that the plan stresses the importance of Standard 21 and the balance between the project's economic viability and the planning. "There is always a conflict between the economic and planning aspects. One of the important things in the decision is the attitude towards Standard 21 (a standard that stipulates possible viability for the project, and which is designed to help the municipality in its decision about imposing betterment tax for the project and the number of housing units that can eventually be built on the site, O.H.). This standard was evaluated, and it was an important tool in making a correct planning decision. Various opinions and objections were filed attacking the project's economic viability, but the use of the standard helped. It is important to realize that if there is no balance between all the sides, they will all lose in the end. Especially now, there is an enormous need for apartments. It is important to allow full utilization of the potential of such plans," she explained
Architect Ruth Hershkovic, who designed the plan on behalf of the municipality, also commented on the plan's approval, saying, "The plan was approved within four years; it is time for timetables to be shortened to two years, and then the plan can be move forward very quickly."
Gindi Investments, controlled by Manor and Kfir Gindi and Ori Levy, the promoter of the project, today notified the stock exchange that the plan had been approved by the District Planning and Building Commission. Among other things, the report stated that the Local Planning and Building Commission would submit revised documents for the plan to the District Planning and Building Commission within 45 days, and the plan would become valid 15 days after that. Gindi Investments also reported, "Subject to the plan becoming valid, the company intends to submit requests for building permits for the plan, and to commence construction, after having obtained consent from 93% of the site's tenants to the plan - the required majority for urban renewal plans." Gindi Investments added today that following approval of the plan, "We thank the tenants and the Givatayim Municipality for their fruitful cooperation, and we are preparing to go ahead with the project in the coming months."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on September 10, 2017
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