The Planning Administration recently announced that the Tel Aviv District Planning Commission had decided to deposit the Givatayim Northwest Plan. The plan refers to the area around the western end of Katznelson Street and Aliyat Hanoar Street and includes something that Givatayim residents are not used to - 30 floor towers and some even as high as 45 floors. Other such plans are also being drawn up and the question is when will all this actually happen.
"Daring planning but not certain it can be implemented"
The Northwest Plan is being pushed forward by the Givatayim Municipality and the Urban Renewal Authority and includes several renewal tracks: strengthening demolition and building in the heart of the neighborhood, in other words renewing buildings, with options to build up to 8.5 floors, demolition and rebuilding along the main streets of Katznelson Street and Aliyat Hanoar Streets with 32-45 floor buildings. The average apartment will be 85 square meters, with 30% of the apartments just 40 square meters in size.
Givatayim Mayor Ran Kunik says, "The policy in the city is very clear. Genuine urban renewal and not buildings just in the areas surrounding the city. These are areas bordering on Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv and there the ambition is to build high. In the city center, there will be urban renewal but there we want to protect what already exists.
"The plan that was approved for deposit by the District Commission is a little different from what it was several months ago because we came to the conclusion that the original version was too overwhelming. Therefore, this today includes less urban renewal areas, and releases land for renewing buildings. I know that there are residents who fear building high and the word tower but they must understand that if the plan is executed, it won't be for at least 10 years."
Architects Association chairman of the regulations committee Benny Perry makes calming comments. "I'd bet now on it taking 20 years until the plan is realized." Perry has served in the past as Givatayim's City Architect. He adds, "You have to remember that for the purposes of renewal in these areas we are steamrolling another urban fabric, 20 existing buildings, and putting up 40-floor towers. I have no sentiments towards the existing urban fabric, which was built according to incorrect criteria but in those 20 buildings that they will steamroll there are residents and there are an infinite number of opinions.
The planning that they are doing here is very daring, and it is not certain that it will be possible to implement it. It's hard for me to see how they will easily persuade existing tenants to take an apartment on the 25th floor of a new tower. So the question is if there is any chance of realizing it, not in 20 years but in the next 100 years."
The main streets won't look the same
A main part of the renewal program for the northeast of the city is to "strengthen Katznelson and Aliyat Hanoar Streets, which rely on existing public transport systems and in the future on planned mass transit systems for the region." This refers to the M2 Metro line, which will run beneath the length of Katznelson Street.
Katznelson Street itself, one of Givatayim's main streets, will undergo a major visual change. It will be colonnaded along its entire length, rather like Tel Aviv's Ibn Gbriol Street, with a covered 3.25 meter sidewalk and buildings jutting right out to the street. There will be a 2 meter cycle path on each side of the road with a bus lane and one lane for cars. The width of the street will be 30 meters.
Kunak explains, "The plan expands the main roads and generally provides changes and upgrades transport which will relieve the traffic flow. Katznelson itself will be significantly wider.
"Generally speaking Givatayim is a small city and its many residents usually get to places by walking so we have focused on plans for walking. The Metro will also provide a broad solution for public transport users as well as the mass transit project, (which will also pass along Katznelson) but there is no doubt that improvements are required on the subject at a national level."
Perry stresses that the plan has many things that express proper planning practices. "The desire to create streets of proper proportions, textured construction along the street, the towers away from the street, colonnades, and stores along the street. The cross section of Katznelson Street is very interesting and allows comfortable walking, under a major amount of shade. All these can create an exciting city, a walkable city where it will be fun to live. The question is, as said, how much it is possible to implement, and when."
The overall plan for Givatayim is to enlarge construction around the main transport arteries and near the city's boundaries interfacing with Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan. In the city center construction will be allowed up to eight floors, up to 16 floors in the older neighborhoods and 40-floor towers in the northwest and south of the city.
Givatayim's trend towards towers can already be seen on the land closest to the Ayalon Highway in the City complex. These include the 57-floor Shahar Tower, while nearby the 55-floor Hi Tower is being built. At the start of 2022, the 40-floor Korazin Tower was approved for the south of the city and both the Histadrut and Rambam areas are planning 25,35, and even 45-floor high-rise residential towers.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 27 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.