The Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Committee has approved the masterplan for two areas of land for the US Embassy in the city. The decision comes in the closing days of the presidency of Donald Trump who made the decision to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The plan, drawn up by architect Yigal Levi, proposes expanding the existing building in the Arnona neighborhood to 50,000 square meters and constructing a new 60,000 square meters in the former Alleby barracks on Derekh Hevron at the corner of Albak and Daniel Yanovsky Streets. Each of the two areas will have offices, residential areas for employees and security installations.
In 2003, the US purchased land from Dov Schiff in Arnona southeast of the Diplomat Hotel. The Americans built a new consulate on the 24,000 square meters lot, which replaced the consular building in Sheikh Jarrah and eased crowding in the Agron Street consulate. The new consular building was designed by Mann-Shinar Architects. The building was never fully completed, and the consulate that was opened in 2010 is only a small part of the complex, or to be more precise the entrance building. The new plan suggests that the building will soon be completed.
In 2014, the US also bought from Dubi Schiff the Diplomat Hotel itself and its land, some of which goes over the green line (pre-1967 border). The hotel was shut down in 1988 and became a hostel for immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union in 1991. It is currently a car home for the elderly.
The Jerusalem Municipality and the US have agreed that the tenants will not be evicted until suitable alternative accommodation is found.
The former 7.75 acre site at the Allenby barracks was leased to the US in 2003 by the Israel Land Authority.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion said, "I think that this additional step to strengthen the embassy site and the continued move to the capital is the first blossoming of other diplomatic representatives who will move to the capital. The embassy at the Allenby site will be built on the route of the light rail and strengthern the development of the city for its residents and this follows the master plan for Talpiot which was approved some time ago."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 14, 2021
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