Diamond Exchange business district to more than double

Diamond Exchange Photo: Tamar Matsafi

The plan for Ramat Gan will include new business and commercial space, homes, hotels and student dorms.

Next Sunday, an extensive plan for Ramat Gan's Diamond Exchange business district will be brought for the approval of the Local Planning and Building Committee. According to the plan, the current, 750,000 square meter complex will be expanded to 1.75 million square meters (main area). The implication: the future Diamond Exchange business district will be 2.5 times larger. Of this area, 1.4 million square meters will zoned for business and up to 120 square meters for commerce; about 1,000 hotel rooms will be built in the area.

The plan also states that a project including 250 long-term rental apartments, student dorms, business and commercial areas will be built in a plot owned by the municipality and Israel Land Authority, on the banks of the Ayalon River, in a parking lot near the Rogovin-Tidhar Tower. The Ramat Gan municipality has been working on this plan for one year together with Architect David Galor. The area will be divided into four types of zones: very-tall building complex, tall building complex, complex with dense construction of low buildings and two 'vacate and build' complexes. Each complex has defined zoning (business, commerce, hotels, student dorms and public needs, or any mixture thereof), a building rights and height key and conditions for their realization. As part of this project, the Ramat Gan Local Planning and Building Committee will be able to approve more detailed relevant plans.

As part of the project, high-rise buildings will be built at the Diamond Exchange inner area, which includes small plots with low buildings, thereby clearing some of the space and enabling more efficient planning of the area.

The Diamond Exchange area is plagued with brothels, which the municipality has been trying to remove for years, and the new plan limits as part of the area's approved uses. The municipality says that many such institutions have already left the area, and hopes that the real estate upgrade will make the area's sleazy, criminal image a thing of the past.

In the meantime, the Diamond Exchange area is already changing, due to renovations carried out by the municipality. So far, Ahaliav St. has been renovated; works are near complete on Tuval St., and during the next year Harakon St. will also be renovated and turned into a pedestrian-only street, with no vehicle traffic. These renovation works are estimated at over NIS 30 million.

In terms of revenue, this plan constitutes a financial bonanza for the Ramat Gan Municipality. Real Estate Appraisers Association in Israel chairman Ohad Danos estimates that the cost of a square meter in the complex will be NIS 12,000-15,000 for a purchase and NIS 800 for rent. According to this estimate, realizing all rights in the plan will provide the municipality with no less than NIS 6.5 billion. Ramat deputy mayor and head of the Local Planning and Building Committee Adv. Avivit Maor Nimrodi said, "The municipal concept in Ramat Gan is that instead of expanding into further areas and using land reserves important for the city's future, we should first enhance existing areas and fully utilize the potential in all city areas. The same is true for the Diamond Exchange complex. The municipality has decided on the objective of fully utilizing the economic and business opportunities in the area, in a way that will also increase the municipality's property tax revenue and return money to residents in the form of infrastructure and development works and more. Opening new entertainment venues at the Diamond Exchange area, which is far from homes, will enable us to provide the resident with a new entertainment area, which the city has never had before."

Student dorms play an important part in this plan, and they will be scattered among the towers, which will be characterized by mixed-use zoning. In order to provide the students with entertainment venues, the current municipality policy, which complements the plan, cuts property taxes for pubs by half. Ramat Gan Mayor Israel Zinger added, "The municipality approved a property tax discount for owners of pubs in the complex, in order to encourage them and promote this area."

The project's planning team includes the Diamond Exchange Administration, headed by Amnon Botz, the Ramat Gan Economic Development Company, headed by Stand-in Chairman Kobi Ben-Atar, City Engineer Aliza Seidler Granot and City Architect Sharon Sheffer.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 23, 2016

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

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Diamond Exchange Photo: Tamar Matsafi
Diamond Exchange Photo: Tamar Matsafi
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