Friday, February 3, 2012

Diamond Exchange to get Israel's tallest building

A 70-story tower - that will be Israel's new tallest building - will go up in the Givatayim neighborhood known as the City near Ramat Gan's Diamond Exchange. The Tel Aviv regional planning and building committee approved the plan on Thursday for the 235-meter-high skyscraper. The new tower will include a hotel, offices and shops. It is also expected to house some of Givatayim's municipal offices.

The tower is part of a larger plan that includes four apartment towers with 350 residential units, and a 50-story office building. A large square will be built in the middle of the complex to serve as a park, which will be connected to surounding areas with bridges and uindeground passages. Construction is expected to cost around NIS 1 billion and last about five years. The architects say that in a worst-case scenario they will complete the job by the end of the decade, but hope to finish by the end of 2018.

But the building may not keep the title of Israel's tallest for long; the new Elite Tower is expected to be built nearby at 74 stories and 270 meters. Shaul Elovich's Eurocom Global Real Estate owns 76% of the land for the 70-story building, the Jewish National Fund's Himnuna subsidiary owns 18% and private investors 3%. It will most likely be called the Eurocom Tower. The company will not sell space before construction starts. The skyscraper will be a bit taller than the nearby 68-story Moshe Aviv Tower in Ramat Gan. The building will go up between the Ayalon Highway and Shefa Tal and Arvei Nahal streets. It will have an underground garage with 950 parking spaces. The three bottom stories will be a commercial mall with about 10,000 square meters of space. Above that will be a large convention center with offices on the floors above that. All told, the building will contain about 84,200 square meters. Eurocom is the developer. The company bought the land in the mid-1990s.

The regional planning committee's appeals panel gave the final approval on Thursday. The biggest worries concerned parking and public transportation. But the committee took into consideration the tower's location near the Ayalon Highway and the train station on Tel Aviv's Arlosoroff Street, as well as the planned route of the Tel Aviv light rail. The committee also reduced the required number of parking spaces by 50% in an attempt to force people to take public transportation and reduce congestion on nearby streets. The committee also decided to allow the building to reach the height of the nearby Moshe Aviv Tower to keep the skyline at a uniform height. Last week the committee approved the first stage of a huge project at the other end of Givatayim, the Even Shoham project. It will start with two 27-story office towers.

The late Amnon Niv and Amnon Schwartz planned the 70-story building, and Schwartz will carry out the project. They also planned the Aviv Tower. "Tel Aviv has Azrieli, Ramat Gan has the Moshe Aviv Tower, across from Ramat Gan Stadium we're planning a 60-story tower that will be the tallest building in the Bnei Brak area, and this tower will be the symbol of Givatayim," said Schwartz. The building was designed to withstand earthquakes; that's the reason for its unique design and structure, said Schwartz. As part of this, 70% of the views will face the Mediterranean Sea, he added. The planning committee, however, reduced the parking requirements, and the necessary mass transit systems don't exist yet. And it's not clear when they will, said Schwartz.

Givatayim Mayor Reuven Ben Shahar cited policy to promote high-rise construction on the city's outskirts while preserving the fabric of residential neighborhoods and the city center. The mayor added that the new building and other planned high-rises would significantly increase the city's municipal tax base and property tax revenues. Until then, the city has a problem because two-thirds of property tax comes from residential property and only one-third from businesses. He said the increased revenues would allow improved services for residents, in particular in education. The City complex would add about 25% to Givatayim's annual property tax revenues, which are now at about NIS 160 million. Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which opened in January 2010, is currently the world's tallest building at 830 meters and 163 habitable floors.

Source The Marker

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