Holon gets okay for central Israel’s largest urban renewal plan

Planning committee approves construction project that will add 30,000 new homes in city on outskirts of Tel Aviv to boost much-needed housing supply in Gush Dan area

Construction in Holon, May 2020. (100 via iStock by Getty Images)
Construction in Holon, May 2020. (100 via iStock by Getty Images)

The regional planning and construction committee for the district of Tel Aviv gave its approval this week for plans to add 36,000 new housing units in the city of Holon, as part of a wider urban renewal plan billed as the largest single development project in central Israel.

The plan has been making its way through the pipeline since 2019 when the Holon municipality first proposed the project, which will see over a dozen older residential areas in the city rebuilt according to TAMA 38 regulations, aimed at increasing the density of housing in existing built-up areas.

TAMA 38 allows developers to add floors and units to existing buildings (for which building permits were issued before 1981), while also upgrading the structure.

Much of the construction is expected to take place in areas around planned light rail, metro, and rail stations across the city and main thoroughfares, and some of the building will involve the Pinui Binui urban renewal framework which allows for the demolition and re-building of older properties.

The plan will see the addition of 30,000 new housing units, as well as 6,000 smaller apartments of up to 65 square meters (about 700 square feet) that can serve as rental units, assisted living units, and student housing, according to the proposal.

The plans provide a framework for multiple building projects and define maximum heights of 10 floors for some buildings and 12 floors on plots of over 1,000 square meters (about 10,700 square feet), building lines, and parking provisions. There is a focus on creating space for pedestrians and cyclists through the center of the city.

The overall area for proposed renewal covers over 7,550 dunams (7.5 square kilometers or 8.07 square feet) and includes spaces for commercial activity, education centers, community centers, and parks.

The Holon municipality has promised that the massive building project will maintain the quality of life of the city’s existing population while significantly increasing public spaces and housing to draw in more residents.

Holon Mayor Motti Sasson called the plan “groundbreaking” and said “it does not deal only with the addition of rights to residential buildings, but rather establishes guidelines and instructions for increasing public, built-up and open areas, in response to the expected addition of housing units,” in a statement cited by Hebrew-language media.

Eran Nitzan, chairman of the Tel Aviv District Planning and Zoning Committee (under the purview of the Interior Ministry), said Holon “should be congratulated” for its “courage” in leading this project.

“For the first time in Israel, an urban renewal plan has been approved for most of the city’s area,” he added.

Following a committee meeting in August to discuss objections to the plans, outgoing Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said the Holon project was “the largest urban renewal plan ever approved” in central Israel. “Urban renewal is the most important answer to dealing with the housing crisis,” said Shaked, and plans like the one in Holon “are the best example of how this vision can be promoted.”

Planners and developers will now go through the complex process of seeking building permits for the project. No timeline was provided for the construction, but it will likely take years to complete. An estimated budget was not yet made available.

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