Residents protest tower development

The residents say the plans allow for twice as much construction as legally permitted and would destroy the character of the area.

Residents in the Assuta area in north Tel Aviv have come out in protest against plans by the city and New York real estate developer Shaya Boymelgreen to construct an upmarket 38-story tower on Rehov Jabotinsky, reports Yediot Tel Aviv. The residents have formed an action committee to fight the project on environmental and legal grounds, saying the plans allow for twice as much construction as legally permitted, and that the project would entirely destroy the character of the area. According to the report, developer Boymelgreen bought the nine-dunam area for $51 million in April 2006, and has now presented the city with plans to construct a 38-story tower, containing 220 apartments, on the site. Residents say the project would create horrendous traffic and parking problems, and "harm residents of the neighborhood in a serious and dangerous way." They said they were disappointed that the Tel Aviv municipality was not forcing the businessman, who would make millions from the project, to develop the environment in the area as part of the deal. A municipal spokesman said the project would be built on a privately owned site, but part of the land would be used for public purposes, including a park and public buildings such as kindergartens. The spokesman also said a 100-space underground car park was being planned for the use of residents, and that many of the older buildings in the area would be preserved and renovated. Meanwhile, residents of Ramat Aviv Gimmel are also fighting City Hall in an effort to prevent three 30-story towers from going up on Rehov Recanati, the newspaper said. Some 2,000 residents have signed a petition against the project, which was approved by the local Planning and Construction Committee earlier this year. According to the report, the city plans to tear down six old four-story apartment buildings, containing a total of 96 apartments, and replace them with the towers, which would contain 306 apartments. After hearing of the petition, the city invited residents and developers to form a joint forum to discuss the plans and reach a compromise. If the discussions prove unsuccessful, the matter will return to the planning committee for re-evaluation.