The Herzliya municipality unexpectedly announced that it was suspending the urban renewal plan in the Yad Hatisha (Shaviv) neighborhood in northeastern Herzliya. The plan was to have been carried out jointly by YH Dimri and Construction, Bonei Ha'aretz Hatova, and NBS Israel, controlled by UK businessperson Leopold Noe. The developers will now probably not take part in promoting the project, if it ever goes through. The municipality said that it was transferring the planning to the residents, following a series of accusations published by members of a neighborhood committee against the municipality's actions in the project.
Office towers combines with residential construction
Yad Hatisha is an apartment block neighborhood in Herzliya located next to Ra'anana and east of Jerusalem Street, south of Road 531, and north of the Neve Amal private housing unit neighborhood. The municipality has been discussing a large-scale urban renewal project on the site for over a decade. Only in recent years, when land values in the area rose, did the project become economically feasible.
In an attempt to promote the project, the municipality four years ago conducted a design competition among a number of companies. The winning bids were by NBS Israel, controlled by Noe, and by YH Dimri and Construction in partnership with Bonei Ha'aretz Hatova. The municipality later merged the two bids. The plan was to built a 30-storey office tower above Road 531 and residential construction of up to eight storeys in the heart of the neighborhood.
The "Salah Shabati" neighborhood
Correspondence obtained by "Globes" shows that the project had trouble getting off the ground. The neighborhood committee recently wrote a scathing letter alleging lack of transparency, promotion of private interests by some of the developers, and various other allegations. In response, Adv. Ilana Braf-Snir wrote the committee a letter on behalf of Herzliya Mayor Moshe Fadlon that put the ball back in the committee's court. "Since you have for a long time been making groundless grave and severe accusations, including camouflaged threats, against the actions of the municipality, the mayor, and the various municipality employees, and clearly stating strong objections to the municipality's efforts, the mayor is putting a stop to it. The mayor is therefore suspending at this time any promotion of the project."
At the same time, Fadlon issued a statement to the neighborhood's residents saying that it had been decided to transfer design of the Yad Hatisha urban renewal project from the developers to the residents. The municipality further announced that it would put the relevant municipal departments at the disposal of the residents to provide the professional and design assistance needed to promote the matter.
Neighborhood committee member Eli Haroush, who has lived in the neighborhood from birth and remembers when the movie "Salah Shabati" was filmed there in 1964, denies any assertion that threats had been made against any of the municipality's employees. He says that the committee members were excluded from all of the meetings with the developers. "We weren't in the tender to select the developers. We don't know how they were selected or anything else. We told the mayor that we preferred that the neighborhood be divided into several parts and among several developers, and that a tender be conducted among development companies to hear what they are offering the residents," Haroush said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 1, 2019
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