The coastal city of Ashkelon is set to embark on a major rebuilding program that will overhaul the look of one of its oldest neighborhoods and expand housing availability.
Israel’s fast-track building approvals committee (Vatmal) gave its okay last week to a rebuilding program using the established Pinui Binui urban renewal framework which allows for the demolition and re-building of older properties. The plan will apply to a large chunk of the Givat Zion neighborhood in southeast Ashkelon as well as the surrounding area.
The proposals were jointly developed by Ashkelon city planners and the national government’s Urban Renewal Authority, in conjunction with the existing community. They include a supplementary budget for the city to support the development of infrastructure through the rebuilding zone.
The area covers 56 dunams (13.8 acres) and at the moment comprises 132 housing units in four-story buildings in Givat Zion, one of Ashkelon’s oldest neighborhoods. The new plans include the creation of 927 new housing units, with the majority (558) on new land.
The rebuild program will mix styles, combining both low-rise and high-rise buildings, public space, commercial areas, bike paths, and a new street network.
Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam said in a statement that the plan would “change the oldest area of Givat Zion… and deliver a new, advanced and well-maintained living space.”