A rising star

With demand for real estate low at present, Yehud is bucking the trend with ‘Pinui Binui’ projects.

(photo credit: SHIKUN & BINUI REAL ESTATE)

Aprocess called Pinui Binui (“evacuate and build”) – in which old, dilapidated buildings are torn down and new ones built in their stead – is enabling apartment owners to get new, modern apartments in exchange for their old ones. And the Yehud Municipality has decided to implement this process on a large scale to rejuvenate the town.

Yehud – now called Yehud-Monosson, since it merged with Neveh Monosson to form a single municipality – was long considered the poor relation of nearby upscale.

Its inhabitants were mostly new immigrants with low incomes, and consequently the town was not considered an attractive place either to live or to invest in real estate. But things have changed.

In the past decade, and especially in the last eight years under the current administration, developers and potential home-buyers have discovered the advantages of residing in a quiet town near the metropolitan center of Tel Aviv.

The town itself has 30,000 inhabitants, of whom 27,000 live in Yehud proper and an additional 3,000 or so in Neveh Monosson.

The city – a 20-minute drive from Tel Aviv – started taking off when the Africa Israel Real Estate company started constructing a large residential complex called Kiryat Savyonim, with 1,500 residential units with more than 6,000 inhabitants. The complex had its own schools, shopping center and other amenities, making it practically its own town.

As it was built to a high standard, the new quarter attracted many yuppies. The apartments were large, airy and relatively inexpensive, and suddenly nearly a quarter of the population was more affluent. Kiryat Savyonim, which was very much within the municipal boundaries of Yehud, started becoming fashionable.

Eight years ago, Mayor Yossi Ben-David, who had recently been elected, started rejuvenating the city. “I knew the city was run-down, so I decided to invest in upgrading the infrastructure, improving streets, improving lighting, [and implementing] regular refuse removal and a much improved educational network,” he explained to Metro.

“I believed then, and I do now, that an improved infrastructure and an improved educational system would act as a stimulus to pull up the city as a whole, and I was right. Demand for real estate increased as more people were willing to live in Yehud, and prices started to rise. These days, demand is weak, as it is all over Israel, but demand was brisk up to 2010.”

Still, there is not much development activity because there is very little land available for building purposes. The Pinui Binui process is one approach to overcoming this lack of land.

One of the new construction projects is the High Hanging Gardens, which the Aura-Israel Investment Company is building. Ya’acov Atrakchi, the company’s general manager, told Metro that “we came to the conclusion that Yehud-Monosson had a lot of appeal,” and bought a plot of .4 hectares (1 acre) near Kiryat Savyonim. The company began constructing a residential complex consisting of four 14-story residential tower blocks with a total of 240 apartments.

The name was chosen, he said, “because the quality of design and construction is very high, and because each apartment has a large terrace [designed so it] can be covered with a thick layer of earth to allow the growth of a small lawn and trees.” He added that each apartment would have two underground parking spaces.

The High Hanging Gardens isn’t the only Pinui Binui project in full swing. There are 11 such projects in various stages of planning or development; one of them, Lugano, will be started soon. The projects, when implemented, will completely change the urban look of Yehud’s older areas and add 7,635 large modern dwellings.

The B. Yair Building Corporation is taking part in one of the Pinui Binui initiatives in the city. Marketing manager Nadav Lisovski told Metro that his company, along with the Savyon Yezum company, planned to build 1,295 dwellings, starting with 570 four- and five-room apartments that would have terraces, parking and storage rooms.

Dor Morad, the Re/Max concessionaire in Yehud, echoed the mayor in noting that although demand for real estate was low at present, “in Yehud it is less so. This is because the large number of Pinui Binui projects generates activity. There is investor demand, and there is demand for renting apartments.”

Prices in Yehud-Monosson are much lower than prices in Tel Aviv, and even significantly lower than prices in Givatayim and Ramat Gan, but they are expected to rise. Eran Levi – manager and owner of the Ambassador Real Estate company, which specializes in marketing realestate projects – said that a 1,000- square-meter plot costs approximately NIS 3 million, and a 500 sq.m. plot costs NIS 1.5m.

Four-room apartments in Kiryat Savyonim cost from NIS 1.1m. to NIS 1.7m., depending on the location.