The building that used to be the old home for foreign journalists in Jerusalem
will become a 200-bed dormitory to alleviate some of the housing shortage
students face in the capital, the municipality announced on
Construction to renovate Beit Agron – which previously housed
many of the foreign bureaus for major newspapers – and create a dorm for Bezalel
Academy of Arts and Design students will begin within a year.
is part of the municipality’s initiative to reinvigorate the city
Beit Agron is located in the heart of downtown, next to the
restaurants and bars of the Nahalat Shiva area and across from the future Museum
Two years ago in November 2010, the city announced that
Bezalel would move back to the city center from its current campus on Mount
The new campus, which will be located in between the municipality
buildings and the Russian Compound, was originally slated to open for the 2014
school year – though that date will most likely be pushed back.
will have a mix of commercial and residential space with the possibility of
adding dozens of units at later dates. Bezalel competed against the other
Jerusalem universities for their students to live in the choice downtown
location, and won a tender in 2011 to operate the dorms for at least a 25-year
lease. The Shapir Group engineering and construction firm and Ma’ayan National
Projects and Infrastructure won the tender to build the project.
great strategic importance in giving students and young people the ability to
live in the city,” said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
“Student dorms in the
center of the city are another initiative to increase the amount of apartments
for young people and at the same time revive the center of the
Student complaints over lack of affordable housing was one of the
main driving forces behind the tent protests during the summer of
Previously, Beit Agron was the home of the Government Press Office
as well as many foreign bureaus. As newspapers closed their foreign bureaus,
many of the remaining journalists moved to the Malha Technology Park. The GPO
moved there last year as well.
Beit Agron was named for Gershon Agron,
one of the founders of The Jerusalem Post