Tel Aviv, with a population of more than 400,000, is the largest city in Israel after Jerusalem. In the next few years it is set to grow by at least 100,000 inhabitants. The reason is Plan 3700, which will add another 12,000 housing units, and the transfer of Sde Dov Airport’s operations to Ben- Gurion Airport in order to build more dwellings there.Add to these 24,000 units on large tracts of land called Gush Hagadol and Gush Hakatan, the area that stretches from the northern boundary of Lamed to the southern boundary of Herzliya.Plan 3700 and the agreement to vacate Sde Dov are more or less linked.Lamed started life in the mid-1970s.The city fathers of Tel Aviv looked for areas where the city could expand and chose the area north of the Yarkon River and west of the Haifa-Tel Aviv coastal road. The coastal road separated the new neighborhood from Ramat Aviv. While Lamed and Ramat Aviv shared the name of Trans Yarkonia, Lamed was also known as the new North Tel Aviv.Lamed is bordered by the Yarkon to the south, Sde Dov to the west, the Haifa-Tel Aviv coastal road to the east and the Gush Hagadol to the north.Sde Dov has been a thorn in the area for a long time, and there has been talk about relocating its activities for the past 20 years. For one reason or another, nothing had been decided until the first week of September when the Israel Airports Authority, the Finance Ministry and the Israel Lands Authority declared that the activities of the civilian airport would be moved to Ben-Gurion Airport. The military would be given a piece of land in the area of Ben-Gurion Airport. The process would take four years. Nevertheless, the ILA intends to start the paperwork involved in parceling out the area of the airport. Plan 3700 is also linked to the airport. It utilizes private land surrounding the airport to the north and the northwest.According to expert opinion, this will eventually add some 50,000 new residents to Tel Aviv .The airport will finally be moved, but its location has had a negative effect on the real-estate market in Lamed.Real-estate appraiser Ehud Hameiri told Metro, “Lamed has always been the less favored sister of Ramat Aviv and the northern Tel Aviv areas. Because of the location of the airport and the noise it generated, prices in Lamed were always less than to the east and south.”This price differential has had its advantages, as it attracted a relatively young professional clientele. Close to 50 percent of Lamed’s 35,000 residents have university degrees.The airport not only created noise but it also blocked Lamed from the sea and prevented the construction of high-rise apartment buildings. However, when construction begins on the vacated airport land, Lamed will still be blocked from the sea.And the situation will become worse yet. The area will fetch premium prices, and the streets adjacent to the seashore will, with time, reach the outrageous prices demanded on Hayarkon Street opposite the sea. Because of the high prices, high-rise buildings of 20 floors and more will be the norm. These high-rises will block the sea breezes from reaching Lamed with its relatively low-rise buildings.Furthermore, some of the houses, especially on the more westerly streets, have a panoramic view of the sea across the runway. In the future, what is now the runway will be a forest of concrete highrise structures that will block the view and the sea breezes. But that is more for the future. At present, demand for real estate is steady.Gaby Preschel, owner and manager of the Re/Max East and West concession, told Metro, “Demand in Lamed is steady, and prices during the past 12 months managed to creep upwards. In these rather difficult times, buyers prefer the relatively lower prices in Lamed compared to Ramat Aviv and the old North Tel Aviv to the south of the Yarkon.Mind you, prices in Lamed are not cheap. Airport and all aside, Lamed is part of Tel Aviv, which on average has the most expensive real-estate prices in Israel,” he says.“An average three-room 85- to 90- square-meter apartment can cost from NIS 2.1 million to NIS 2.3m. An average 110-sq.m., four-room apartment can cost from NIS 2.4m. to NIS 2.7m. For a fiveroom, 140-sq.m. apartment, the average price will come to about NIS 3m. A fourroom penthouse plus a room on the roof and a roof terrace can cost from NIS 3.3m.to NIS 4m., depending on size, location and state of the property. A penthouse can cost upwards of NIS 5m. And the majority of the apartments have private parking facilities,” he says.The second-hand market is also doing well, but there is no shortage of developers willing to undertake new projects.Africa Israel and Caesarea Investments have developed a high-end compound of 10 buildings in the area of the historic Ramat Aviv Garden Hotel, at the southeastern corner of Lamed. The project will have four high-rise residential tower blocks of 14 to 21 floors. One is already occupied; one is under construction; and the other two are pending. The project has six additional six-floor terraced apartment blocks, five of have been completed and one is still pending. The 10 buildings will surround a private park for the residents.The tower that is under construction will have 21 floors and two- to five-room apartments, as well as split-levels and penthouses.The prices are very high, but this is a super-luxurious enclosed compound with 24-hour surveillance, a swimming pool, a fully equipped spa and more.An average two-room, 72-sq.m. apartment costs NIS 2.2m. A three-room, 116- sq.m. apartment costs NIS 3.5m. An average four-room, 140-sq.m. apartment costs NIS 4.5m., while a five-room, 160-sq.m.apartment costs more than NIS 6m.The company has not yet priced the penthouses and split-levels, but they are not for the faint of heart or pocket.