From turrets to towers

The garden neighborhood of Talpiot became interesting from a real-estate perspective in the 1970s.

Talpiot 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Talpiot 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Talpiot, a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the city, was founded in 1922 by European Jews. The name “Talpiot” has a double meaning in Hebrew. It can mean either “turreted” or “finely built” – a very ambitious name because finely built it was not. From its establishment until the 1950s, the area had a rather checkered existence. The early inhabitants were evacuated from Talpiot in the wake of the 1929 disturbances but later returned. Talpiot was considered a relatively safe place because it had the largest military camp in Palestine, the Allenby Camp.
With the end of the British Mandate in May 1948, a Hagana brigade launched Operation Kishon, a plan to seize all British strong points and defend Jerusalem against the attacks of the Jordanian Arab Legion. The army camp in Talpiot was one of the strategic sites captured in this operation.
After the 1948 war, Talpiot became a frontier neighborhood. This state of affairs continued until after the Six Day War. In the wake of the war, Israel conquered the surrounding area. New residential districts were established in the enclave formerly controlled by the United Nations. A large industrial zone was set up in the area, and many of the businesses that were previously located in Mamilla, which was being developed as a tourist and residential area, were relocated to Talpiot.
In addition, housing was constructed to accommodate new immigrants and the capital’s expanding population.
Today, Talpiot is made up of several districts. North Talpiot is the historic residential neighborhood founded in 1922. Arnona, built after 1967, offers panoramic views of the Old City. To the west is the Talpiot Industrial Zone. In the not-so-distant past it was the center of the capital’s low-tech industry; now it is a major shopping area.
Part of East Talpiot is situated on land occupied by the old Allenby Military Camp. During the preceding 10 years the army camp was demolished and a complex of high-rise apartments was built in its place.
The old industrial area has been transformed into a shopping center, as well as a center of the creative arts and nightlife, with a multiplex cinema and dozens of nightclubs.
From a real estate perspective, the neighborhood started taking off in the 1970s. Three-story buildings were constructed, and that was the beginning of modern Talpiot.
The neighborhood is spreading eastward in the direction of Kibbutz Ramat Rahel. Some of the agricultural land of the kibbutz was rezoned as an urban residential area. This area is popularly known as Arnona Hatze’ira, or young Arnona.
Eight- and nine-story buildings were constructed, with such amenities as covered parking areas and central gardens.
Many real-estate developers were active in building on land formerly owned by the kibbutz, such as Azorim and Shikun U’binui.
Yitzhak Levi, VP of the Ambassador real estate company, told In Jerusalem, “The residential areas of Talpiot are generally considered attractive for families with average incomes who want to upgrade their living conditions. In addition, there are quite a number of newcomers, especially from English-speaking countries, who are attracted by the quality of life in an area that can be described as a garden suburb of the capital. Furthermore, the proximity of the shopping centers in the old industrial center adds to the attractions of Talpiot.”
During the past three years demand for housing in the area has led to a rise of approximately 30 percent in the price of real estate. During 2011 demand has fallen quite a bit, but developers are still keen to invest in new projects, especially in what were once the orchards of Ramat Rahel. Africa Israel, for example, is planning to build two 12-story residential towers with a total of 230 apartments. Hasid Bros. is planning an 18-story residential tower with 130 apartments, while B. Yair and Yahalomit Peretz will soon start a building project of 100 apartments.
In addition, there are a few projects in the building stage. One is called Mishkenot David. It is an eight-story twin building with three- and four-room terrace apartments, garden apartments and penthouses, which is being marketed by Ambassador Real Estate.
Real estate prices in Talpiot vary substantially according to location. An average four-room apartment can range from NIS 1.4 million to NIS 2.7m.