The Ramat Lechi neighborhood in the northern and older part of Beit Shemesh, was built 60 years ago. It contains eight prefabricated apartment block buildings with 176 housing units in a shabby state. A small earthquake in 2004 caused one of the buildings to collapse completely and damaged the others. The National Committee for Planning Priority Housing Areas approved yesterday an urban renewal plan for the neighborhood. The developer of the plan was the Urban Renewal Cooperation, in cooperation with the Beit Shemesh municipality. The Bar Levie Dayan Architects and Urban Planners firm designed the plan.
The new plan covers a 10-acre area. 1,053 housing units will be built in ten new buildings of 9-24-floors each. The mix of apartments also contains small apartments of up to 80 square meters. The 100 apartments owned by the Amidar company will be replaced by new apartments. The plan includes 5,200 square meters to be allocated to public space for construction of an elementary school, kindergartens, and daycare centers for community needs, some of which will be combined with residential buildings, as well as 1,400 square meters for business and commercial use.
Beit Shemesh city engineer Inbar Weiss believes that the plan is important "This is a typical standard 1950s neighborhood, with a lot of neglected public space spread between the building. A developer came here and got all of the residents to sign up for a plan turning the area into a new neighborhood with public space, underground parking, and a adjusted road system. This project is coordinated with our outline plan."
"Globes": You are proposing to increase the number of apartments from 176 to 1,053. People living in four-floor buildings will move to high-rises. Is this suitable for Beit Shemesh? How will people who are not rich maintain construction of this type?
Weiss: We're talking about a 6:1 coefficient. In today's Israel, when I talk about additional construction within cities, 20-floors isn't a lot. In Tel Aviv, no tower is less than 80-floors. I'm talking about a quarter of that. We believe that in the future, land values in Beit Shemesh will rise, and then the multiples will be different. We believe that projects of this type will upgrade the surrounding area."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 6, 2020
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