Battle shapes up over Kikar Hamedina

Deputy Mayor Pe'er Visner has launched an appeal that threatens to derail the planned project, which calls for three new 25-story residential towers.

September 7, 2008 10:22
1 minute read.
Battle shapes up over Kikar Hamedina

KIKAR HAMEDINA 224.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A major battle is shaping up over plans to build three residential towers at Tel Aviv's famed Kikar Hamedina, reports Environmentalists led by Deputy Mayor and head of the Green faction Pe'er Visner have launched an appeal that threatens to derail the planned project, while the land-owners have already issued an NIS 300 million claim for compensation against the city over changes made to the original plans. According to the report, several years ago the city prepared plans to build three 25-story residential towers at Kikar Hamedina, the large circle in north-east Tel Aviv that is surrounded by fashionable stores and pricey boutiques and is one of the few remaining open spaces left in the city. Recently, the local planning and construction committee approved the plans with some modifications, including a reduction in the total number of apartments from 400 to 387, a reduction in the amount of construction from 61,000 to 48,000 square meters, and different locations than originally requested for the three towers inside the circle. As a result, the land-owners have already issued a lawsuit claiming NIS 300 million in compensation. Now Visner and environmental groups have issued an appeal against the committee's decision, saying it was "mistaken and illegal." Visner said the committee was an independent planning body that was legally required to hear objections "with an open mind" and it could not impose its own opinions in advance of any project. Visner said the towers should be moved out of the circle to intersecting roads, the entrepreneurs should be compensated, and Kikar Hamedina should be left largely green and open. A spokesman for the land-owners said Visner was acting "like a demagogue. If he (Visner) truly is concerned about green spaces, he should take the city's money and create parks in the south of the city, where there really is a big shortage," the spokesman said. "For every dunam of land he pays for at Kikar Hamedina, he can buy 10 dunams in the south of the city." The report said the city council is due to meet soon to discuss the plans and their consequences.

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