After four years of delays and waiting for approvals, commercial real estate group Big Shopping Centers (2004) Ltd. (TASE:BIG) has been given the go-ahead to begin construction of a center on the Glilot site. The company notified the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange today that it had been granted a revetment and digging permit for the Big Fashion Glilot project. The 220,000-square meters will contain a shopping mall, offices, parking lots, and service areas.
Over a year ago, Big claimed that there were parties trying to prevent construction on the site. Big accused competing shopping mall groups operating in the same competitive area, and hinted that their strong lobby had attempted to delay the project. In an usual step, Big argued that the situation required intervention by the Israel Competition Authority (formerly the Israel Antitrust Authority).
Big's struggle for the center that it is planning to build close to Cinema City began in 2015 with a planned investment of NIS 1 billion in the site. Big then announced that it had exercised an option to buy the land located next to Glilot Interchange in order to build a leisure and entertainment complex covering eleven acres. The site will contain a fashion mall, other stores and restaurants.
In the past four years, however, various parties filed objections to the project, including residents and business owners in Ramat Hasharon. They asserted that the plan should be rejected because building a shopping mall on the outskirts of the city would deal a critical blow to existing businesses on the city's main streets.
The delays in construction on the site, which was originally scheduled to open in 2018, caused the BIG group monthly damages in the millions of shekels, and also cause delays for the chains that were planning to put their new branches there.
During this time, Big made strenuous efforts to persuade the both the tenants and the capital market that the project would go through, even though some had already giving up on it and predict the same fate for it as experienced by the Israel Canada real estate group's project. This project was slated for construction on the other side of the road, when it was decided to rezone it and cancel the project to turn it into a major commercial center.
Big, managed by Hay Galis, has a NIS 5.2 billion market cap and manages 22 shopping centers in Israel, 27 shopping centers in the US, and three shopping centers in Serbia.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 8, 2020
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