A new trend in Ramat Gan

Business centers, such as the area of the Diamond Exchange, are combining modern, luxurious office towers with high-end residential ones, allowing people to live within walking distance of their offices

Ramat gan buildings 521 (photo credit: courtesy)
Ramat gan buildings 521
(photo credit: courtesy)
Ramat Gan, one of the largest cities in Israel, has 150,000 inhabitants. And like all large cities, it has areas that differ both architecturally and in socioeconomic makeup.
There are four distinct areas.
The less well-favored neighborhoods lie to the southeast. In Ramat Chen and Shikun Hatzanhanim there are spacious, singlefamily homes. Then there is central Ramat Gan, and the area to the west of Rehov Jabotinsky, also known as the Tel Aviv-Petah Tikva highway.
Let’s look at the real-estate aspects of the area west of Jabotinsky, with an emphasis on its extreme wings: the residential districts of the Diamond Exchange area, and the extreme northwest corner of Ramat Gan.
Bordered by Tel Aviv to the south, the Yarkon River to the west, the town of Bnei Brak to the north and Rehov Jabotinsky to the east, this is a residential area of contrasts.
In the not so distant past – and with the exception of Shikun Vatikim at its extreme west and its south-eastern corner, known as Hagefen – it was was not one of the more expensive areas of Ramat Gan; but things are changing.
Twenty years ago, the Diamond Exchange District, or, as it is more commonly known, the Diamond Bourse Industrial Area, was a decrepit industrial zone housing a variety of small industries.
Today it is a powerhouse of economic activity, housing most of the important diamond merchant houses operating in Israel, both local and foreign.
This is also an important financial center, with the Israeli headquarters of the State Bank of India located here, as well as the headquarters of the Mizrachi Bank. It is, moreover, an important hi-tech center containing the headquarters of Checkpoint and other smaller hi-tech companies.
Yoram Blumenthal, director of corporate services at InterIsrael Real Estate Consultants, told Metro: “This area of Ramat Gan has become Israel’s premier business center. It is attracting the head offices of both local and international companies, as well as foreign embassies and the offices of overseas government agencies.
“In the past two or three years, the embassies of Ghana, Kenya, The Ivory Coast, Jordan, Norway, the Netherlands, the EEC and others have relocated from Tel Aviv to the Ramat Gan Bourse area.
“The British have also relocated the premises of the British Council, and I have reason to believe that this trend will increase.”
The area is saturated with modern office buildings, and more are going up all the time. The Aviv Tower, Israel’s highest building, over 60 floors, is an important landmark; and a modern tower building of 70 floors is slated to be built opposite, on the site of the old Elite factory.
The Diamond Exchange District in the extreme southeastern corner of the city has become well known as one of the country’s leading business centers. Less well known is the fact that it is also becoming an important high-end residential area.
The extreme northwest corner of the city is also becoming a very important business area, with a large number of office buildings.
There’s a new trend: Business centers are combining modern, luxurious office towers with high-end residential ones, allowing residents to live very near – at times within walking distance of – their offices. In an era of maddening traffic jams, walking to work is a delight compared to those frustrating morning and evening drives that seem to last forever.
The Diamond Bourse compound has a large number of residential tower blocks. Africa Israel has built a large number of them in the area. In addition, apartments occupy the top floors of the Leonardo City Tower – formerly the Sheraton City Tower Hotel – and the top floors of the Aviv Tower.
The same concept is planned for the 70-story tower opposite: offices on the lower floors, apartments on the higher ones. And Gindi Holdings is constructing its twin 29-story luxury residential tower blocks in the district.
Ramat Gan’s northwestern corner currently has two high-rise residential tower blocks, and a third in the early building stages. This last is being constructed to a high level of luxury by the Faire Fund. The penthouse on the top floor has a private rooftop pool, and is priced at NIS 14.5 million.
As one might expect, apartments in these high-rise buildings fetch premium prices. One of their selling points is their view of the Yarkon River and Ganei Yehoshua beyond.
Prices for four-room apartments in this area can reach NIS 2.7 million to NIS 3 million.
Rural Roots:
Ramat Gan is today so much of an urban entity that few know its beginnings were totally rural.
It was established in 1921 by an association called Ir Ganim, which wanted to create a rural settlement as a satellite of Tel Aviv on the pattern of the Templer settlement of Sarona (now the Defense Ministry compound).
Based on the cultivation of watermelons and cereals, Ramat Gan started out as an agricultural entity like Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva and Hadera. But in contrast to these cities, which retain some architectural remnants of their past, Ramat Gan has shed them entirely. – J.B.