Friday, September 11, 2015

Unlike other major cities, Tel Aviv embraces Airbnb

Earlier this week at DLD Tel Aviv, the city of Tel Aviv and Airbnb announced a partnership to create a guide to the city that includes layers of interactive content.

Airbnb, which connects travelers with hosts in cities around the world, said in an announcement this week that it is the company’s first partnership with a municipality on a city guide.

The company has already produced guides to 22 other cities but in direct partnering with hosts. The guide of Tel Aviv will include maps, custom photography and an editorial on local things to see and do, as well as tips from Airbnb hosts about local businesses. “Tel Aviv is comprised of small, fascinating neighborhoods that will be showcased through this initiative,” said Hila Oren, CEO and founder of Tel Aviv Global, a company started by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor’s Office dedicated to elevating the city’s global positioning.

What is unusual about this project is the active involvement of the municipality. While other major cities such as San Francisco, Paris and Barcelona have been resisting the amazing growth of the new sharing platform, Tel Aviv is setting itself apart by embracing change.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Azrieli Sarona Tower starting to take shape

After more than 2 years of digging, the unconventional 200 meter, 50-story building which will be Tel Aviv largest office tower upon completion in 2016 is now starting to take shape. Azrieli Sarona will offer 125,000 square meters of working space, a three-story, 11,000-sq.-m. mall and a seven-story underground parking lot for 1,600 vehicles. It will be the country’s second-tallest building, behind Ramat Gan’s 244-meter, 68-story, multipurpose Moshe Aviv Tower.

David Azrieli purchased the land from the Israel Lands Authority for NIS522m ($139m) in 2011 and the tower will be built at the eastern end of the Sarona compound near Menachem Begin Road and Kaplan Street, diagonally opposite the three existing Azrieli towers. Architect Moshe Zur who also designed the 17 Arlozorov tower partnered with David Azrieli Architects to design the building. According to the Jerusalem Post, the architects are using simple geometry to create the effect that the building is facing the sea, which lies almost 3km to the west. The tower will be located half a block south of the company's Azrieli Center project. The office and commercial project is part of the Sarona compound in central Tel Aviv. The project offers a greater than usual number of building rights, however existing height limitations dictated a particularly large, wide building mass.

The architectural solution was to create two vertical, rectangular masses that lie alongside each other and twist slightly around two different axes. The result is a twisted tower, the base of which lies parallel to the Sarona compound pedestrian routes. Every viewpoint of the tower offers a new, different perspective. The division into two masses creates vertical proportions, which, together with the twisted effect, forms a spatial, sculptural three-dimensional object that makes a dramatic impact on its surroundings.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ayalon roofing project one step closer to reality

The Tel Aviv Local Building and Building Commission just approved another grandiose plan to roof over one of the busiest roads in Israel - the Ayalon Highway. The project will cost an estimated NIS 2 billion. It should be kept in mind that the Local Planning and Building Commission's approval is only a recommendation to the District Planning and Building Commission, which is scheduled to discuss the matter. The plan has been on the agenda for many years, but has never before reached such an advanced stage. The approved plan is only a plan in principle aimed at establishing that the area is zoned for planning. At a later stage, both the Local and District Planning and Building Commissions will also have to approve detailed plans.

The Ayalon roofing project, which covers 240 dunam (60 acres), is aimed at creating an open public area above the existing road and railway tracks. According to the plan, the area slated for roofing stretches from the Central Railway Station and Arvei Nahal St. to just after the Hashalom Interchange and Yehudit Blvd. Under the plan, an area for leisure, bicycle and footpaths paths, green spaces, cafes, and supportive commercial activity will be opened above the noisy highway. The idea underlying the plan is to devise a creative solution for the shortage of public land in the city center that will unite urban tapestries and improve the environment by reducing the burdensome air and noise pollution. The project conforms to the deposited outline plan for the city, which includes roofing over the Ayalon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Norman voted best boutique hotel in the world

Luxury American tourism magazine Jetsetter has just named the world’s best boutique hotel, and it’s none other than the stunning Norman Tel Aviv. “The term ’boutique hotel’ can be applied to everything from major chains’ brand extensions to indie sleeps one step removed from B&B status, but Tel Aviv’s smart, stylish Norman is the real deal,” Jetsetter explained of its vote, which was based on reviews by 200 international journalists. Overall, the magazine examined 23 hotel categories, such as business hotels and all-inclusive beach resorts.

Located just a few steps away from Rothschild Boulevard in the heart of Tel Aviv, the plush Norman Hotel is housed in two reconstructed Bauhaus-era buildings, surrounded by a luscious Mediterranean garden. Of the hotel’s high-end interiors, Jetsetter magazine points to the beautiful “hand-painted tile floors, high ceilings, creamy leather seating and original Israeli artwork.”

The hotel – which has only 50 guestrooms, many of which boast private balconies – also has the first international branch of British-Japanese small plates restaurant Dinings, in addition to the Norman Restaurant; a cocktail bar called the Library; and a stunning rooftop infinity pool. For guests looking to pamper themselves, The Norman offers spa treatments, an in-house yoga instructor, and an ultra-modern gym.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Israel home prices up 97.3% since 2007

Home prices in Israel rose by an average of 9.6% a year between 2007 and 2014, according to figures presented by Bank of Israel Deputy Governor Dr. Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg at Tel-Hai College. She said that the home-price index rose by 97.3% since April 2007, while the rent-price index rose by 46% over the same period - 5.1% each year.

In real terms, according to the data, apartment prices in Israel have risen 63.9% since 2007 - 6.9% a year. In an international comparison, from 2000 to 2013, Israel ranks roughly in the middle: during the same period, home prices in Canada, Sweden, and the UK rose more, while in the US, Ireland, and Japan, prices rose less, and in some countries home prices decreased.

The deputy governor’s presentation discussed the importance of short term and long term monetary policy, and included details of its roles and areas of activity. Baudot-Trajtenberg examined the macroeconomic developments in the world, and in the Israeli economy, and spoke of the central trends in monetary policy, currency markets, inflation, and economic activity.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Israeli startup scene on a roll

According to a recently published report from IVC Research Center, Israel’s leading research group on the country’s high tech companies and venture capital investment, Israel’s first quarter this year was the second most successful quarter for high tech fundraising in a decade, 48% higher than Q1 of 2014 and more than twice what was raised in Q1 of 2013. What’s more, it was only 10% less than the decade’s most successful quarter for high tech fundraising: Q4 of 2014.

In the last few years, Israeli internet startups such as Waze and Wix have been all the rage, and that trend is not abating any time soon: With $343 million raised, the country’s Internet sector experienced its most successful fundraising quarter ever in Q1. According to Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center, the high funding rounds of Taboola ($117 million) and Quixey ($60 million) largely contributed to this quarter’s success, as well as the maturation of the sector, with investors willing to raise larger average rounds. In a statement, he explained, “Up to a year ago we were accustomed to seeing average financing rounds of $3 million to $4 million, in the Internet sector.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Light rail construction to disrupt Tel Aviv traffic till 2021

The Tel Aviv municipality has begun preparing for the “messy phase” of the Tel Aviv light rail Red Line works and is planning to launch a broad PR campaign a month before the works begin, after it becomes clear that they will not be delayed again. The city is currently working to identify residents and business owners who are liable to be harmed by the works. Municipality sources said, “There is no avoiding it. It’s not reasonable to expect that works such as demolishing the Carlebach bridge will happen without a significant adverse effect on traffic.”

The construction of five underground stations in Tel Aviv will commence between August and September: Carlebach, Shaul Hamelech, Allenby, Arlozorov, and Yehudit. The first stage of construction will include the excavation of the areas where the future stations will be built. The works are expected to continue until 2021, and while they are underway, traffic throughout the city will be affected. The project site where worst traffic disruption is expected is the Carlebach station project, during construction of which traffic will be redirected from Begin Road, Carlebach, Hamasger, Lincoln, Hataasiya, Hamelacha, Yitzhak Sadeh, and Rival streets.

Begin Road will be closed to traffic in the Carlebach junction area, the Ma’ariv bridge will be demolished, to be replaced by an underpass. Public transport will be adjusted according to the anticipated new traffic arrangements resulting from the works, and will be redirected to Hamasger and Hahashmonaim streets. Dedicated public transport lanes will be opened on these streets. The direction of traffic will be reversed on Hataasiya and Hamelacha streets. The Allenby station works will cause traffic changes on Yehuda Halevy, Mikve Israel, Bezalel Yaffe, Yavne, Shadal and Ramhal streets.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Abramovich to turn Tel Aviv hotel into secondary home

Jewish billionaire Roman Abramovich could be spending more time in Israel. The oligarch, ranked the world’s 58th most wealthy person by Forbes, with $12 billion in wealth, has purchased his first property in Israel, Tel Aviv's Varsano Hotel, owned by brothers Guy and Yaron Varsano. The hotel is located between Shabazi Street and Ein Yaakov Street in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood.

Abramovich paid NIS 100 million for the property. The lot, which is just 1,500 square meters, includes the landmark hotel which is subject to a preservation order, and an area with a parking lot, which is zoned for additional residential construction. The deal was put together by businessman Eyal Kamir, and Neve Tzedek Real Estate’s Oren Katz. Abramovich was represented in the deal by Hagit Bavly and Ofir Schwartz, of Yigal Arnon & Co., and the Varsano brothers were represented by Shay Rosner and Inna Goldfarb, of Baruch I. Manoach & Co.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Klagsbald sells his Rotschild Echad flat for ₪44m

Dori Klagsbald recently sold his net 550 sqm 13th floor apartment in the prestigious Rothschild Ehad Tower in Tel Aviv to a foreign resident for NIS 44 million. Klagsbald bought the apartment, with its sea view and three patios, in 2008, before it was built, from Habas HZ Investments Lt that had constructed the tower. Klagsbald himself lives with his wife, Yael Tevet in Kfar Shmaryahu, and the luxury apartment in the tower, designed by architect Pitsou Kedem, has never been occupied. It is believed that Klagsbald made a handsome profit on the current deal. When the tower was marketed in 2008, apartment prices in the tower averaged $10,000-12,000 per sqm, while the current average price per sqm is double that.

Klagsbald's sale of his apartment follows former Bank Hapoalim chairman Shlomo Nehama's recent sale of his apartment in the tower for NIS 45 million. Owners of apartments in the tower, most of whom bought them in 2008, include businessman Idan Ofer and businesswomen Leora Ofer (his cousin), former Bank Hapoalim CEO Zvi Ziv, Fox-Wizel chairman Harel Wizel, former Electra CEO and former Azrieli Group CEO Shlomo Sherf, Colmobil chairman Dr. Shmuel Harlap, Jacob Shahar (owner of auto importer Mayer's Cars and Trucks), Saki Arnon (former wife of the late Adv. Yigal Arnon), and Apax Partners founder Sir Ronald Cohen, who is believed to be behind, together with a group of investors, the recent acquisition of the dolphinarium site from Josef Buchmann for NIS 200 million. In 2010, Iscar chairman Eitan Wertheimer, son of industrialist Stef Wertheimer, purchased an apartment covering all 800 sqm of the 29th floor of the tower, and billionaire Patrick Drahi, the controlling shareholder in Hot Telecommunication Systems, joined the list of those who have purchased an apartment in the tower.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tel Aviv voted World's 3rd best place for Tech Business

Tel Aviv is the third best place in the world for technology business, according to a new report by property consultants Savills. Austin took the top spot, followed by San Francisco. Savills surveyed 12 global cities with strong tech environments. The scores were measured according to five metrics: business environment, tech environment, quality of life, talent pool and property affordability. New York, Stockholm and London came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the overall ranking.

Interestingly, what has prevented Tel Aviv from reaching the top spot is a low score in quality of life. Surely something that should be easy to fix for a city sitting on the Mediterranean seaside!