Thursday, December 31, 2015

White City Residence under the rain

As 2015 comes to an end, delivery of the flats in White City Residence is picking up the pace. Forty flats have now been delivered to owners and eight tenants are actually living in the building already. Armani furniture for the lobby arrives next week, the synagogue opens mid January and the spa which includes an open pool, a hamam and a sauna, will be ready by the end of the month.

After a delay of almost two years, residents are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and most of them agree that the wait was well worth it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

After years of neglect Kikar Hamedina to get upgrade

After decades of delays, the plan to build three 40-floor residential high-rises in Tel Aviv's landmark Kikar Medina has finally been approved. The three towers will contain 453 apartments on land owned by dozens of people as well as the municipality, who will receive 6,000-sq.m. of building and several small stores in the surrounding parkland.

"You have to understand how special this project is for Tel Aviv, which will include a 10-acre park," said architect Ami Mor from MYS Architects, which has been responsible for the project. "For all our efforts in the Tel Aviv Wholesale market project, for example, we obtained a park of just 2.25 acres. Here we are talking about 10 acres. It will be the largest park in any Tel Aviv neighborhood and it will be a pearl."

Globes: Akirov Towers also has a park open to the public but people don't really go there.

Mor said, "That is something completely different. In Akirov the land was higher and a separation of levels was created. With Kikar Medina, there will be no fences and the entire project will be at street level, accessible from every direction. The most important thing from Tel Aviv Municipality's point of view was that the park will be accessible to the public, and the previous city engineer Herzi Berkovitz was insistent about this and he also initiated the cancellation of a planned commercial project that would have blocked views across the park. The current plan has smaller towers that are further apart so that the view is not concealed. Half of the square will in fact be parkland with places to sit and a number of very small stores operated by the municipality. In my opinion it will be the city's most attractive park."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Birth of a new avenue in Tel Aviv

More than 100 years after the creation of the first avenue in Tel Aviv, trees were planted on the portion of Yitzhak Elhanan Street that was rebuilt in front the new White City Residence. There has been many discussions as to the what the final look should be but it seems that no decision has been made yet. The idea is to have a new avenue linking Rothschild boulevard to the sea and therefore finishing the Rainbow starting at Kikar Atarim (Ben Gurion, Chen, Rothschild and then Yitzhak Elhanan).

While it seems that the redevelopment of that portion of the avenue is an interim move, it is still a welcome development. We will probably have to wait until the Dolphinarium project goes ahead for good until we know more.

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.