Rani Zim plans Galilee medical, technology campus

Impression of Arraba project / Imagin: Rani Zim

The company has reached agreement on leasing land near the Arab towns of Arraba and Sakhnin, but the local planning authority rejects the plan.

Rani Zim Shopping Centers Ltd. (TASE: RANI) has announced initial agreement with landowners to lease 70 dunam (17.5 acres) of land near the Arab towns of Arraba and Sakhnin. The company plans to build a 120,000-square meter medical, business, and services campus on the site. The project will contain technology offices, medical centers, assisted living facilities, student dormitories, recreation and entertainment areas, public services, and accompanying commercial services.

Rani Zim estimates that approval of the detailed plan, which requires approval from the towns' mayors, the Misgav Regional Council, and the Northern District Planning and Building Commission, will take two years. Construction work on the project will start within a year after a detailed plan is approved. The cost of the project, which will take several years to build, is estimated at NIS 1 billion. Rani Zim believes that the project will generate a 12-14% annual return, after payment of rent to the landowners.

According to the memorandum of understandings, the lease for each building in the complex will be for 24 years and eleven months, starting when the first tenant enters the building. When the first lease expires, the owners will have an option to extend it for additional periods on terms set for in the document of principles. There are various preconditions for the memorandum of understandings.

Commenting on the agreement, Rani Zim deputy CEO and VP business development Yoav Kaplan, who leads the company's activity in the Arab sector, said, "Following a comprehensive analysis by the Portland Trust fund, the area of the project was the subject of a broad process, involving the local authorities, government ministries, and other parties. The area was found to have unique potential in medicine, technology, and paramedical spheres such as nursing.

"There is an extraordinary concentration of doctors and related professionals in the area, while at the same time there is a very great shortage of these services among the population of the Galilee in general. The planned campus will be a lever for more general development in the vicinity, which will fulfill a great need and provide employment and services solutions for an immediate population of over 250,000 people."

Rani Zim has recently expanded its activity in the Arab sector, with commercial centers in a number of communities.

Northern District Planning and Building Commission chairman Ori Ilan makes it clear that while the initiative is welcome, the Planning and Building Commission rejects Rani Zim's plan. He asserts that this option is not statutorily feasible, and that there is no chance that it will be carried out, being outside the entire area zoned for planning in the Sakhnin Valley.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 9, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

Impression of Arraba project / Imagin: Rani Zim
Impression of Arraba project / Imagin: Rani Zim
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