German-Jewish developer Josef Buchmann, owner of the Dophinarium site on the Tel Aviv Promenade, is selling the compound to a group of Israeli investors for NIS 200 million ($50 million). He has given up on a land exchange deal that was to have taken place between Buchmann and the Tel Aviv municipality, because the division of rights between Buchmann, the Tel Aviv municipality, and Israel Land Authority (ILA) had not yet been completed.
Buchman and the Tel Aviv municipality had signed a land exchange deal in 2003, under which Buchman was to have given the Dolphinarium compound to the municipality, which wants to continue development of that part of the promenade, and to have received in exchange from the municipality land on Herbert Samuel St. to which a plan for construction of a residential high-rise and a hotel recently approved by the District Building and Planning Commission applies.
Buchman acquired the Dolphinarium site in the late 1980s for $5 million, after the Dohpinarium encountered financial difficulties and was closed down.
Many property owners living nearby the site, business owners, and organizations such as environmental organization Adam, Teva, V'Din and the Movement for Quality Government in Israel filed objections to a plan that was promoted for years, alleging that Buchman, who had neglected the Dolphinarium building for years, was receiving a prize: a publicly owned lot with many building rights worth over NIS 1 billion in a land exchange deal from the Tel Aviv Municipality at the public's expense.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 4, 2015
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