A view of the Old City of Jerusalem..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jerusalem led the nation in housing starts during the first half of the year for the second consecutive year, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Sunday.
Despite a nationwide housing recession, 2,100 apartments in the capital commenced construction between January and June, besting Tel Aviv by 1,194 units, according to the CBS report.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who has long championed affordable housing and ongoing residential and commercial construction, welcomed the figures as a leading indicator of the capital’s growing economy.
“A building boom in Jerusalem is one of the key tasks we set for the development of the capital,” he said. “The process of renewal has been accelerated in recent years and we have invested heavily in construction, education and culture.”
Barkat noted that Jerusalem’s relative housing boom is accompanied by the development of an ambitious largescale business district at the western entrance of the city, which he said will continue to expand the city’s once anemic economy by adding thousands of jobs.
“Promoting the construction of thousands of housing units in the capital is an important development for the city and integrates the economic development and business growth we are promoting at the entrance to the city and other areas... that will add tens of thousands of new jobs and improve the quality of life in Jerusalem,” he said.
The business complex, approved last week by the Construction and Housing Ministry, will cost approximately NIS 1.5 billion, and be constructed on 730,000 sq.m. of land. It will include the construction of 12 high-rise buildings for offices, hotels, and cultural and tourism centers.
According to Barkat, the business district, which will take several years to finish, is set to create 50,000 jobs by attracting a plethora of companies and investors, while increasing tourism and cultural activities.