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.

Chelsea FC owner Abramovich, who lives with his family in London, had previously bid for a property in Neve Tzedek. In 2007, it was reported that on a tour of Tel Aviv with Katz and Kamir, he held talks with businessman Marius Nacht to buy the historic Chelouche House in the neighborhood. Nacht wanted $30 million for the property, and no deal was reached between the parties. Nacht had bought Chelouche House from the Varsano family in 2006 for $16 million.

It is believed that Abramovich, who is a strong supporter of Israel, and frequent visitor to the country, will convert the Varsano Hotel into his Israeli home for when he is staying here. In order to do so he will build onto the existing structure.

Abramovich has invested in four Israeli start-ups over the past year. Via, which has developed a system for urban, shared rides, Mor Assia and Shelly Hod Moyal’s iAngels, StoreDot, which is developing a super-fast-charging smartphone battery, and AcousticEye, which uses sound waves to check pipes.

The NIS 100 million price tag is exceptional by any standards, but it seems that this was not the first such major deal in the area. Oren Katz, a real estate agent and owner of "Neve Tzedek Real Estate," who specializes in high-end properties in the neighborhood, said, "For regular homes the price tag is on average about NIS 50,000 per square meter. But occasionally there is an exceptional deal involving a special property, if it is a particular size, or a very special location in the neighborhood, and the price per square meter can jump to as high as NIS 100,000 per square meter."

For the rest of the article and an interview with Katz head to Globes

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