At a Tuesday press conference, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced a massive urban renewal and gentrification project to revitalize the capital by encouraging greater residential construction and business investment in the capital’s otherwise lackluster economy.

To spur development, Barkat said the municipality will provide assistance to developers and businesses by removing a number of “bureaucratic barriers” and incentivizing investment by deferring fees for seven years.

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Additionally, Barkat said the municipality is creating a separate business council to help shepherd entrepreneurs through the various processes associated with growth, including construction permits and demolition procedures.

“Urban renewal is one of the main tools in increasing the supply of housing in the capital, by making more efficient use of land,” said Barkat at the press conference. “Urban renewal through evacuation and construction is an opportunity to improve and upgrade the city.”

Einat Gannon, chairman of the Committee of Urban Renewal Housing Ministry said the Jerusalem Municipality “has led the country in urban regeneration.”

“Jerusalem will be one of the first cities to carry out this project and we will work in full cooperation with the municipality and welcome innovative reform,” said Gannon.

Shmulik Levy, chairman of the Jerusalem Contractors added that his organization welcomed “the important reform.”

“This reform will lower the price of housing in Jerusalem, will ensure improvement in housing occupants in the city and attract new tenants,” he said.

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