Givatayim lookout threatened by new buildings

Givatayim lookout Photo; Shlomit Tsur

Mitzpor Shalom overlooking the entire Tel Aviv metropolitan area could be blocked by an urban renewal plan.

The Mitzpor Shalom lookout in Givatayim is one of the most beautiful lookout points in the entire Tel Aviv region. It provides a wonderful view of metropolitan Tel Aviv, and is one of the most popular meeting places for residents of Givatayim - for now, at least. Part of the panorama from the outlook is liable to be blocked by buildings in the coming years in an urban renewal plan right below the lookout post being pitched to the tenants by Dunietz.

The project is slated for construction on the slopes of Kozalawsky Hill, one of the hills from which the city's name is derived (Givatayim means "two hills"). The five-dunam (1.25-acre) site contains seven old buildings at 54-56 Hameri Street and 1-9 Nitzana Street with six floors each having a total of 42 apartments. Sources inform "Globes" that one of the apartments in the buildings to be demolished belongs to Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission chairperson Daniela Posek, who is therefore enjoined from hearing the plan. Tel Aviv District planning deputy Tali Dotan is replacing her for purposes of the discussion.

The Local Planning and Building Commission is deducting one floor

In July 2017, the Givatayim Local Planning and Building Commission discussed the plan. Dunietz wants to demolish the seven old buildings and build four new buildings in their places: two with nine storeys above ground in the southern section of the site and two buildings with five storeys above ground in the northern section. A total of 120 new apartments with 113 square meters each in main space will be built.

The Local Planning and Building Commission approved the project, subject to reducing the height of the northwestern building by one storey and the total number of apartments to 105, and recommended it for deposit at the Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission. Architect Danny Kaiser designed the plan for Dunietz, the developer.

District Planning and Building Commission: View sensitivity

In the discussion at the Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission in September 2018, led by Posek's replacement, the Commission approved the plan for two eight-storey and two five-storey buildings with a grand total of 105 apartments and 106 square meters of main space per apartment. 20% of the apartments in the plan will have up to 75 square meters of space, including a reinforced security room.

Dunietz said, "The plan is located in a area on a steep slope. Designing the underground parking floors is very difficult, and construction areas are therefore needed in order to ensure the underground parking spaces. The difference in height between Nitzana Street and Hameri Street is six floors. The plan contributes additional parking spaces to the surrounding area, gets the tenants' cars, current all parked on the street, off of it, and creates the easiest possible connections between Hameri Street and Nitzana Street."

The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission also ruled that construction could be no higher than 98 meters on the south and 87 meters on the north in order to maintain the lookout from Kozalawsky Hill and Mitzpor Shalom. The plan includes a parking lot for the apartments and a public parking lot with 20 spaces.

The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission described the area as "view-sensitive, with a need to renew it, while preserving the views observed from the its surroundings of metropolitan Tel Aviv." The document states, "The plan preserves the views from the hill, including the unique topography and the staircase for pedestrian traffic between the two streets."

Objections by both the company and the neighbors

Two objections to the plan were filed after it was deposited. One was by Dunietz itself, which argued that the changes in the plan by the District Planning and Building Commission, among them the reduction in the number of floors and apartments, detracts from the chances of implementing the project on the site. The company added that the District Planning and Building Commission had added an instruction requiring the preservation of the lookout point from Kozalawsky Hill, even though the Givatayim Local Planning and Building Commission had not inserted such a clause.

The company said that the clause was irrelevant, because no lookout point from Kozalawsky Hill would exist under the Tama 38 plan, while the deposited plan preserved the looking point from Mitzpor Shalom. In its objection, the company asked that it be allowed to build a 14-storey building and improved the design on the site.

Another objection in the opposite direction was filed by a neighbor of the plan, who argued that if the plan is approved in its current format, the volume of construction would be five times the existing volume, which would damage the view from Mitzpor Shalom, which he described as an "inalienable asset."

This opponent, an architect, stated that the designers of the plan were seeking approval of 87 meters in height for the two buildings, which was 14 meters higher than Mitzpor Shalom, and that this would damage the view of the city and the sky and substantially hamper the existing panoramic view. The opponent therefore asked that the height of one of the buildings be reduced from 87 meters to 71 meters and that the height of the third of the four buildings be reduced from 98 meters to 87 meters.

The opposing architect further argued, "The requested construction space indicates an intention of increasing the number of apartments to over 105, thereby increasing the number of vehicles in the project, This will exacerbate the already existing parking shortage."

Responses: The view from the hill will be obstructed

The Givatayim Local Building and Planning Commission said that it could not comment on the plan before the discussion of the objections.

The Tel Aviv District Planning and Building Commission said in response that since the plan was at the stage of hearing the objections, it could not comment on it at this stage. It added that all of the legally submitted objections would be discussed, and a decision on them would be taken in the framework of the Commission. Posek did not participate, and will not participate, in any discussion of the plan.

"Development of the plan is designed to meet an immediate need of the tenants to renew their residential surroundings, which suffer from impossible access conditions, lack of parking, and buildings constructed 60 years ago that are now in a shaky and deteriorating state," Dunietz said. "The company submitted an objection seeking to improve construction on the site through spacious, effective, and optimal planning. Let it be emphasized that the plan proposed in the objection preserves the open view from the direction of Mitzpor Shalom. The maximum height of Kozalawsky Hill is 85 meters above sea level, and the possible and permitted height of construction under the valid plans for Hameri Street is 98 meters above sea level, so in any case, the view from the hill will be obstructed in this part, whether or not the plan is approved.

"The design in the deposited plan and the design as the company wants to improve it in the framework of the plan preserves the views from the direction of Mitzpor Shalom."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 28, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

Givatayim lookout Photo; Shlomit Tsur
Givatayim lookout Photo; Shlomit Tsur
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