One of Jerusalem’s tallest residential luxury apartment projects, Savyon View Tower, is rising in the heart of the capital, with the promise of breathtaking panoramas for those who buy units soon.
Dan Gingis is vice president of marketing and sales at Africa Israel Residences Ltd., which is building the 27-story tower at the corner of King George and Jaffa streets — on the site of the historic Mapai House complex. Construction is well underway, with completion scheduled sometime in the second half of 2022.
“In residential real estate, location is extremely important. I really think that here, we have a very good example of what that means,” he said. “Over the last few years, Jerusalem has been changing. During the pandemic, there are no tourists and it’s all very quiet, but in normal times it’s been extremely hectic. So there’s an opportunity now.”
Gingis, 46, is originally from Paris. He made aliyah at the age of 7, has a bachelor’s in economics and business management from Hebrew University as well as an MBA from France’s INSEAD, and worked in Hungary for nearly seven years before joining Africa-Israel. He’s held his current position since late 2018.
Gingis said today’s Jerusalem is much more lively than when he studied there in the late 1990s.
“These days, there’s a very lively social life, with museums, galleries and of course the Mahane Yehuda market,” he said. “The new light rail system has also made it easier for people to move through the city and get to the center — which means that if this was a prime location before, now it’s an even better location.”
Savyon View is one of at least half a dozen high-rise residential towers that are gradually changing the landscape of Jerusalem, where in some areas at the city’s entrance, high-rises of up to 50 floors may now proceed. Yet for a long time, Jerusalem didn’t see a lot of new residential construction, leading to pent-up demand.
Another factor is the lack of free space; as Gingis said, “There isn’t much available land you can build on.”
At present, luxury apartments are averaging NIS 40,000 to 43,000 per square meter, compared to around NIS 60,000 per square meter in Tel Aviv.
“Our project not only offers people an investment in real-estate or a second home in Israel, but also a sentimental one,” said Gingis, noting that most of the project’s apartments will offer at least a partial view of the Har Habayit, or Temple Mount. “In the beginning, we thought the apartments would be purchased mostly by foreigners buying them as investments, or as a second home. But at the end of the day, we found that this location is special to everybody.”
The clientele is an eclectic mix of Israelis and foreigners, with only a minority of ultra-Orthodox buyers; many don’t wear kippot, while others are “somewhat religious,” he said. Customers include Israelis from as far north as the Golan and as far south as Beersheba, as well as buyers from all over the world — including Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Mexico, Russia and the United States.
“Very few apartments will be bought and then left empty except for a few weeks a year,” said Gingis. “That’s what happens often in Bat Yam and Netanya, but it doesn’t happen at all in Tel Aviv, and I believe it will not be the case here in Jerusalem either.”
The 27-floor tower features 194 apartments in various configurations, with prices for a one-bedroom unit starting at NIS 2.5 million. A three-bedroom apartment on the 12th floor will sell for NIS 4.7 million — with the highest prices for southeast units that face the Temple Mount.
“If you look at where Tel Aviv was a few years ago, it’s where Jerusalem is today pricewise. I think Jerusalem will follow what’s happened in Tel Aviv,” he said. “Prices are going up year after year, and not only in the city center, but in all the surrounding areas of Jerusalem.”
Gingis said that COVID-19 has had a negligible effect on business. “Overall, we didn’t feel the pandemic here,” he noted. “We had sales going on very nicely in between the lockdowns, and prices in the last two months have gone up compared to the beginning of December.”
On the 21st floor, a terrace is planned, while next to the 27-story tower, there will be a seven-story office building, with three levels of commercial retail space downstairs. On the 10th floor of that building will be a roof garden for the use of residents.
For more information on the Savyon Tower project, click here.