A neighborhood’s resurgence

A cluster of modern high-rise residential towers are being built at the southern edge of the Bavli area of Tel Aviv.

Bavli area of Tel Aviv (photo credit: Courtesy)
Bavli area of Tel Aviv
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Forty years ago, the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Bavli was considered one of the city’s most high-end neighborhoods. With time, it was outclassed by newer sections of Tel Aviv and the surrounding area, but today it is coming back into its own.
Bavli has always been a high-end area with relatively hefty real-estate prices. It is one of the most iconic quarters of Tel Aviv, because more than almost any other area of the city, it has characteristics of an enclosed neighborhood.
Enclosed neighborhoods have been gaining popularity of late: walled and gated compounds of a few hundred expensive dwellings, with entrance restricted to residents only and with 24/7 security.
Bavli is not quite like that. For one thing, it has some 7,000 inhabitants; for another, it is neither walled nor gated, and entrance is open to all.
Its “enclosed” status comes from its location and clearly defined boundaries: to the east, the Ayalon River and Highway; to the west, Namir Road, one of the city’s main exit thoroughfares (in the past known as Haifa Road because it was the continuation of the Haifa- Tel Aviv coastal road); to the south, Harav Shlomo Goren Street and the new Tzameret Park neighborhood; and to the north, Yarkon Park.
The neighborhood has only two entrances: one from Harav Shlomo Goren Street, and one from Namir Road in the northwest.
The vast majority of the inhabitants are secular, but the neighborhood has a distinct religious flavor, as its name derives from the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli). Many of its streets bear names relating to Torah scholarship, such as Mishna, Zohar and Sanhedrin.
The neighborhood sits on the site of the ancient Arab village of Jamasin el-Arbi. During the 1948 War of Independence, the inhabitants of the village fled, and the Tel Aviv Municipality used the empty homes to house refugees from the southern areas of the city – those adjacent to Jaffa – who had to vacate their homes because of the fighting.
The area was settled in the late ’50s, when the Shikun Ovdim development company built a few low-cost dwellings for workers – two blocks with some 20 apartments.
A few years later, development companies “discovered” Bavli and began to build dwellings for a middleclass clientele. They were larger than was common at those times, better equipped and more expensive. But the area soon took off: Demand was brisk, and by the ’80s, most available land was filled up.
Bavli residents have developed a large degree of loyalty to the neighborhood, and there is a tendency not to move out.
Consequently the population is aging; those who bought apartments in the ’70s and ’80s are now in their 60s. Furthermore, because residents prefer not to move, the number of real estate transactions is relatively small.
There have been few new developments in Bavli in recent years, but now things are changing.
A development company called Plaza Tshuva Group is constructing Bavli Park, a cluster of modern high-rise residential towers at the southern edge of the neighborhood.
“The concept of Bavli Park is to create a large number of quality apartments within an area which has all the necessary urban services,” the development company’s CEO, Ronen Jaffe, tells Metro. “Residents in Bavli Park will have large, quality apartments in what can be described as the heart of the Tel Aviv metropolis.”
The new development will be built on a 25-acre plot and will consist of six residential tower blocks. Four will be 44 stories high, and the remaining two will have 34 stories. In all, the six towers will have approximately 1,000 apartments, which will be large and spacious.
One of the selling points of Bavli Park is its landscaping. The buildings will only cover 20 percent of the land, and the remaining 80% will be turned into a well-tended park with tree groves, flower beds and fountains.
The high-rise dwellings are a marked contrast to the existing buildings in the neighborhood, which are mostly four to six floors high. As such, the new apartments are expected to attract a different kind of resident.
Saul Asulin, the concessionary of the Re/Max Real Estate branch in Bavli, believes Bavli Park will rejuvenate the neighborhood.
“Bavli is an expensive neighborhood in which demand for real estate is usually greater than the supply of real estate. Bavli Park will revolutionize the real-estate scene in Bavli,” he says.
From a real-estate perspective, the neighborhood is more expensive than average for Tel Aviv. But there are big price differences within the neighborhood itself. Dwellings facing the noisy Namir Road are the least expensive, while those opposite Yarkon Park on Kosovski Street are the most expensive. An average apartment opposite Yarkon Park can cost NIS 35,000 per square meter, which adds up to NIS 3.5 million for an average 100- sq.m. apartment. A penthouse opposite the park can cost NIS 6m. or more .
Apartments on the eastern edge of the neighborhood are also expensive, though not as much as those opposite Yarkon Park.
In the more central areas of the neighborhood, a 100-sq.m. apartment in a relatively old four-story apartment building without private parking or an elevator costs NIS 2.4m. on average. A similar apartment in a newer building with parking and an elevator can cost about NIS 2.9m.
While most of the apartments in Bavli are four- and five-room dwellings, there are some three-room apartments, which sell on average for NIS 2.2m.