The Defense Ministry and IDF have completed a project to clear a section of the Kirya in Tel Aviv where they are headquartered.

Structures were demolished by around 2,000 soldiers and ministry employees, to make way for the tallest office building in Israel and a future light rail station. A parking lot with hundreds of spaces is expected to be built in the cleared real estate as well.

The Ministry said its Engineering and Construction Branch worked with the IDF and contractors in recent weeks to clear the Keren Hakirya base.

Some buildings were demolished and others were relocated, it added.

The base is situated in the northeast part of the Kirya, and houses members of the military police as well as medical clinics.

The move is part of a wider IDF shift away from central Israel to the Negev – where new complexes for intelligence and C4i units are being built – to the Galilee and to Lod.

When complete, the first phase of the move out of the center will clear space for the construction of 100,000 new housing units and 2.5 million square meters of commercial or industrial buildings, “if bureaucracy permits,” an army source told The Jerusalem Post in December. In addition to the Kirya clearance, the first stage of the program (known by its Hebrew acronym, Shoham), will see the clearance of the sprawling Tzriffin base near Rishon Lezion, and a small base in Haifa’s downtown area.

“In 2016, we’ll start vacating buildings with four or more floors from the Kirya in Tel Aviv, and move those units to the South,” the source said.

British-mandate era army camps, like Sirkin, near Petah Tikva, are also slated to move out of the center, while the intelligence complex at Glilot will likely be relocated to the Negev. Once vacated, sale of the land is expected to earn the state some NIS 90 billion, half of which will go directly to the treasury. Some of the remaining cash will be diverted to the clearance of 14 old logistics and supply bases across Israel, and amalgamating them into three new modern bases.

The IDF is already constructing its “City of Training Bases” in the Negev.

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