David Azrieli mulls entering sheltered housing market

Azrieli Group plans to establish a new brand under its own name, which will meet the company's standards.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Azrieli Group Ltd. (TASE: AZRG), controlled by chairman David Azrieli (91) is considering entering the assisted living facility business. The sources added that the company is in talks with financially troubled Habas HZ Investments Ltd. (TASE: HABS) to acquire the former Bezeq building, at the corner of Lincoln Street and Yehuda Halevi Street in Tel Aviv, for NIS 42 million. The moves come a week after the company bought Beit Yediot Ahronot in Tel Aviv for NIS 374 million.

Azrieli had been in talks to acquire a nationwide assisted living facility chain, but decided against the deal. Instead, the company plans to establish a new brand under its own name, which will meet the company's standards, rather than to renovate and make the administrative and strategic changes to an existing assisted living facility company, since Azrieli has no experience in this business.

If Azrieli buys the Bezeq building from Habas with the objective of converting it into an assisted living facility, it will not have to rezone the property, because an assisted living facility fits with the building "special uses" zoning. It cannot be ruled out that the land that Azrieli has bought in the past two years includes lots along Tel Aviv's Menachem Begin Road which will be used in part for Azrieli-brand assisted living facility.

Azrieli Group said in response, "From time to time, we examine business opportunities. When it exercises them, the company will announce it."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 3, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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