The site of the old Tel Aviv Central Bus Station has been through many changes over the years, but has always been known as an area afflicted with crime, neglect, and poverty. An important step toward a change was taken today, when the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Local Planning and Building Commission approved for deposit a detailed urban building plan for the area. The plan, designed by Kaiser Architects and Urban Planners, covers 78 dunam (19.5 acres) between Menachem Begin Road and Hagdud Ha'Ivri, Yoel Moshe Salomon, and Hanegev Streets.
The plan zones the site for business, commerce, and housing, including public buildings and open public spaces. A large building and municipal plaza will be built on the public space, which will also be end of Har Zion Boulevard. The plan also includes 1,160 housing units with 13,000 square meters, 153,000 square meters of business space, 33,500 square meters of public buildings, and 16 dunam (four acres) of open space. The buildings will range from 11 storeys on Hagdud Ha'Ivri Street to 35 storeys on Menachem Begin road.
Shula Keshet, executive director of feminist social organization Achoti (Sister), who was born and lives in the Neve Sha'anan neighborhood, is dissatisfied with the approval of the plan. She regards it as another step towards pushing the local residents out of the neighborhood, and says, "The municipality approves plans in the neighborhood without informing the public. This plan reflects the Tel Aviv municipality's policy of gentrifying the neighborhood, which means bringing in well-to-do people and expelling us."
Sheffi Paz, the controversial leader of those opposing the presence of immigrants seeking work in Israel, recognizes the importance of the plan, but is worried about the broader significance of its implementation, saying, "They're not solving the problem of Neve Sha'anan. They're just taking part of it and annexing it to Rothschild Boulevard. As long as they don't solve the problem of drug addicts, prostitution, and illegal immigrants, it will be just a closed and guarded site. In effect, I'm doing the work for the real estate people. In 20 years, it will be a wonderful area, but it won't be part of southern Tel Aviv."
Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Arnon Giladi, who heads the Likud faction on the city council, says, "It will change the face of the area. It's Tel Aviv's black hole, and there's no doubt that it's an area that has to be turned around. We're also proposing low buildings and social urban renewal. All of those who want to leave southern Tel Aviv in its present format are doing wrong to the residents and the city itself."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on October 26, 2017
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