An artist's rendering of the renovated entrance to Jerusalem.
(photo credit: GPO)
The Construction and Housing Ministry on Monday announced the approval of a massive urban renewal project on more than 20 hectares of land at the western entrance to Jerusalem that it said will transform the capital into a world-class business, cultural and residential district.
The announcement was made at a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office attended by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Transportation Minister Israel Katz, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, and Israel Lands Authority director Benzi Lieberman.
According to Ariel, the complex will cost approximately NIS 1.5 billion and be constructed on 730,000 sq.m. of land, and will create thousands of jobs while serving as the official business district of the capital.
“This is an exciting and important decision that will make the old entrance to the capital of Israel modern, accessible and convenient – creating the perfect connection between the present and past that represents the Eternal City,” he said.
The plan includes the construction of 12 high-rise buildings for offices, hotels, and cultural and tourism centers.
Additionally, Ariel said the project will upgrade the nearby International Convention Center, add 1,300 parking spaces, and markedly increase public transportation into the city by building a 28-minute express train to Tel Aviv.
Lapid hailed the joint effort of the ministries as a major step in transforming the capital into an elite business hub that will attract thousands more workers.
“I think all parts of the government in Jerusalem believe in strong leadership and in promoting Jerusalem as an innovative and modern capital,” he said.
Katz said the initiative will strengthen the capital by utilizing a high-speed rail that will reduce traffic while making it far more accessible to tens of thousands of workers and visitors.
“The new district will open the city center and improve it in every way,” he said. “I am convinced that what we are doing here is another step in strengthening a united Jerusalem, and not just in words, but also in deeds.”
Barkat added that the business district will create 50,000 jobs by attracting a plethora of companies and investors, while also increasing tourism and cultural activities.
“In recent years, Jerusalem has become increasingly attractive to investors as an international business district, and the new entrance to the city will add extra power to significantly develop the city,” he said.