Preparations of plans for the Greater Tel Aviv (Gush Dan) Metro will require the freezing of construction in extensive areas close to stations, even though it will be years before works will begin on the underground rail system.
Sources have informed "Globes" that next week the National Planning and Building Commission, headed by Ministry of Interior director general Mordechai Cohen, will discuss issuing an announcement that sets the terms and restrictions for building permits around the first 32 stations planned in the project.
The significance of this is that there will be a complete halt in development in areas around the stations so that this major national infrastructure project can proceed. In the future, some of the land adjacent to the stations will enjoy a significant increase in building rights. This is to encourage construction near major public transport routes and reap revenues from betterment levies.
Chaos now, incentives perhaps in the future
The Metro's lines will extend over 109 kilometers with 109 stations spanning 24 local authorities. In January the National Planning and Building Commission decided to draft a national master plan for developing the areas around the stations, which it said will "reinforce urban renewal and development" around the vicinities of stations and depots.
Consequently in the first stage the Commission will issue a statement about preparing the plans according to Clause 77 of the Planning and Building Law and the terms and restriction for building permits set in Clause 78 of the law. These clauses allow for restricting construction in the areas specified. The first area specified in terms of planning around the future Metro stations is a radius of 800 meters around the stations.
This distance has been set according to international convention by which any station impacts areas up to a 10 minutes walking distance from it, or 800 meters.
The National Planning and Building Commission will also specify areas that are between 100 and 300 meters from the stations for future approval of a significant enlargement of building rights. This will help fulfill the real estate vision of the metro stations as commercial, office and residential centers with high-rise, high-density developments as happens in the world's major cities.
Namir, Rishon Lezion and Givatayim first Madlan real estate agency deputy CEO Tal Kopel said, "Usually it is acceptable to ask for the halt in construction for three years with an option for additional extensions but it seems that because of the importance of the Metro project the halt will be much longer from the start. This will cause a certain amount of damage to property owners and developers working in the area with the projects on which they have major plans and have worked on delayed, and possibly even cancelled. On the other hand, the expectation is that the results of the planning f the new master plan will allow more building rights so that in the long term the property owners will profit."
The plan expected to be discussed includes only 32 stations but this is only the first step. In the future the plans for the areas around all the stations will be included.
Among the stations where building permits will now be restricted Are: Tel Aviv Hashalom and Derekh Hanamir, Holon Central, Ramat Eliahu in Rishon Le Zion and Rishonim, Ness Ziona Central, the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Sokolov Street in Ramat Hasharon, and Ben Gurion Boulevard in Herzliya.
Madlan has analyzed the potential impact on some of these stations. For example near the planned Derekh Namir Station in Tel Aviv many high-rise luxury homes have been built in recent years. In the coming decades there is now unlikely to be any more construction in the area, even though there are advanced plans to build two 14-floor residential towers on a lot in the area. These developments will clash with the plans for the Metro and are now likely to be delayed.
In the center of Rishon Lezion at the junction of Jabotinsky and Rothschild Streets there are mainly low residential buildings and it is reasonable to assume that in the coming years urban renewal will include more dense and high-rise construction to replace some of the buildings with more mixed-purpose including high-rise office developments.
In central Givatayim, the request will be to restrict construction along the entire length of Katznelson Street, the city's main thoroughfare. In the long term the low density building will be replaced by high-rise urban renewal and it would be possible to widen the street and introduce bus lanes and cycle tracks.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 22, 2020
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