Israel's Central District Planning and Building Commission has approved for deposit a plan for the 19th century winery in Rishon Lezion. The 37-dunam (9.25-acre) site is located in the historic city center.
As presented by the District Planning and Building Commission, the plan differs considerably from the one approved by the Local Planning and Building Commission; the area has been substantially reduced.
The original plan provided for three 44-floor towers, while the new plan has three high-rise buildings with 25-30 floors with apartments and offices. 300 housing units will be built in the plan, half of them small apartments A nine-floor building will have offices, a three-storey building will have public space on Hacarmel Street, and an eight-floor residential building will built near Tiumkin Street. The buildings on the site marked for preservation will be used for commerce and offices. In contrast to the previous plan, the District Planning and Building Commission sought to increase public spaces from 900 square meters to 8,000 square meters.
The group of developers that bought the site is called the Rishon Lezion Winery Real Estate Site Limited Partnership. The members of its board of directors are former British Israel CEO Amir Biram; real estate businessperson Ariel Rotter, one of the owners of the Castro fashion chain; and developer Erez Mosacho. US architect Ian Bader from the US Pei Cobb Freed and Partners architectural firm designed the project. The local architects for the project are a team from the Kimmel Eshkolot Architects firm.
Adv. Liel Even-Zohar, who was resolutely opposed to Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Zur, is now deputy mayor of Rishon Lezion and acting chairman of the Local Planning and Building Commission. Even-Zohar, who previously argued against the project, appeared during the hearing at the District Planning and Building Commission. She told "Globes," "The megalomaniac plan submitted by the developers included 44-storey towers, huge number of housing units, and huge amounts of commercial space in the city's most important heritage property.
"Fortunately, the District Planning and Building Commission accepted some of our demands. They reduced the number of floors, and the number and area of the housing units, and gave the public much more public space for its use. Most important of all, the validity of the plan and the permits were made contingent on rigorous preservation.
"On the other hand, it appears that the District Planning and Building Commission did not reduce the commercial space enough, and did not give the city enough of a grip on the heritage buildings. We will study the decision and the deposited plan, and decide on the stance of the city and the Local Planning and Building Commission before the objections stage is reached."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 2, 2019
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