The Anglo Palestine Bank building, one of the first multi-storey buildings in Jerusalem, has been sold for NIS 110 million, sources inform "Globes." The new owners plan to convert it for hotel use.
The building, located at 21 Jaffa Street, near Safra Square, was built 80 years ago. It was designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn for Anglo Palestine Bank, which later became Bank Leumi. The building occupies a 805 square meter lot, and has 4,500 square meters of built-up space. The bank used mainly the lower floors, where it put its district management, and put the building up for sale a decade ago.
The purchaser of the building for NIS 30 million was a company named "The Building at 21 Jaffa Street Ltd.", controlled by a UK investor, together with Avi Binyamin and Adv. Ariel Azulay. The new owners wanted to have the building removed from the list of buildings for preservation, to add three floors to it, and to convert it to a building with residences, commercial space, and offices, but were unable to accomplish this. The building was leased to the Government Housing Authority in recent years and used by several government ministries, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services. After a while, the building's owners put it up for sale through the Prosperity Real Estate agency. An auction was advertised late last week for the sale of the building and closed shortly afterwards. The buyer is a company named "Sidney, William, and Anna," held by a Jerusalem businessperson.
The new owners paid NIS 110 million for the building, not including VAT, more than three and a half times the purchase price a decade ago. The company buying the building provided no details about its plans, but it is believed that the building will be converted into a hotel. Many hotels have sprung up in the area in recent years, such as the Post Hotel in another converted historic building formerly used by the Israel Post Office.
The Anglo Palestine Bank building is marked for preservation, and architectural restrictions therefore apply to it. The costs of designing and carrying out its conversion for use as a hotel are therefore likely to be higher than usual. An outline plan permitting zoning of the building for a hotel already exists for the area, so most of the planning activity with the municipality will consist of obtaining permits for the preservation and conversion work. Real estate sources in Jerusalem say that the building's location is excellent because of its proximity to both the town center and Zion Square and to the Old City, at walking distance from the Western Wall. Adv. Ariel Azulay, one of the previous owners of the property, and another lawyer from the Azulay Afik Ettinger & Co. law firm represented the buyers.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 2, 2019
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