The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design has sold its old campus on Mount Scopus for NIS 100 million, sources inform "Globes." The sold campus occupies 10 dunam (2.5 acres) on Martin Buber Street. The people who will now use the site will probably be considerably older than Bezalel's art and design students.
The recently signed deal was contracted following a long process that included an auction by Bezalel under supervision by the Israel Council for Higher Education Planning and Budgeting Committee, which previously ruled that the building could be sold only after the Committee approved the sale agreement. The Planning and Budgeting stated, "As a condition for obtaining the Committee's approval of the sale agreement, Bezalel must present a detailed plan including an explanation of how the institution will maintain proper academic activity if construction of the new campus is delayed beyond the period of time allowed under the agreement and it has to vacate the sold campus."
Bezalel recently submitted a plan for a new use of the building to the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Commission. In an explanation given this week at a subcommittee hearing, Bezalel said, "The plan seeks to expand the public uses of the Bezalel campus," and that it wanted to add to previously approved uses "nursing institutions and assisted living facilities for the elderly and other uses related to these uses."
The policy department of the Jerusalem municipality expressed opposition to the proposal, writing, "The existing buildings in the plan were zoned for use by educational institutions and higher education. The plan seeks to turn them into assisted living facilities for senior citizens nursing institutions and accompanying uses. In our opinion, the existing buildings should be used for what they were intended - institutions of higher learning and education, as a university campus should. Furthermore, the proposed location is not ideal for assisted living facilities and nursing institutions, among other things because they are remote and lack proximity to senior citizens' community activity. Such institutions have no connection with a university campus."
Despite this stance, the plan was approved for deposit, subject to a number of conditions mainly concerning various approvals of access for the target group. An opinion by the Ministry of Health for use as nursing institutions for the elderly is also required.
Bezalel said, "The Academy recently completed the sale of its campus on Mount Scopus. The sales was contracted in the framework of construction of a new Bezalel campus in the Russian Compound and as part of Bezalel's return to the city center."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 7, 2019
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