Upgrading Holon

A new development scheduled for completion by the end of next year aims to raise the standard of living – but at a price

Modern Apartments521 (photo credit: Courtesy Mizrahi Group)
Modern Apartments521
(photo credit: Courtesy Mizrahi Group)
During the past 15 to 20 years there has been a dramatic rise in the country’s standard of living. The economy became based on science-oriented industries. Exports soared, and the balance of payments began to show a surplus for the first time since the establishment of the state. With the rise in the standard of living, Israelis had greater expectations, especially in the standard of housing.
They wanted larger, more spacious and modern places to live. During those years of rising average salaries, there was a greater increase in real-estate prices, which meant the prices became much too high. This was especially marked in places like Tel Aviv and its bourgeois satellite towns of Ramat Gan and especially Givatayim.
Prices became unaffordable for many.
The solution was to look for housing in more remote places. The “exodus” from the prosperous areas of Tel Aviv has created a situation where the mayors of cities like Hadera and Holon are busy upgrading the physical appearance of their cities and their quality of life to attract new residents. These potential new residents are mostly newlyweds or singles looking for affordable housing with style, and that means spacious modern homes or apartments far from the metropolitan center.
Holon is also very interested in attracting new residents. It was long considered a working-class suburb of Tel Aviv, with much lower real-estate prices.
Holon is one of the urban entities established in the 1930s that surrounded the metropolis of Tel Aviv. It was in essence a satellite of Tel Aviv but a special satellite because it was built as an industrial town by Jewish immigrants who came from Lodz in Poland. Lodz was the industrial center of prewar Poland.
Many of the textile factories there were owned by Polish Jews. With the rise of anti-Semitism in Poland, there were plans to transfer some of the plants to Palestine, and the land southeast of Tel Aviv was chosen as the new Lodz. The first and only Polish textile plant set up in Israel was in Holon, and it was called Lodzia. Today, the area around the old Lodzia plant has expanded considerably and is now the largest industrial area in Israel after Haifa.
The city is fast shedding its old working- class image, but it still scores six out of 10 on the national socioeconomic scale. The mayor of Holon for the past 20 years, Motti Sasson, believes that the industrial zone, as well as the new neighborhoods of spacious modern housing springing up all around, will raise the socioeconomic level in the very near future.
The existence of a vast industrial park in Holon has no direct influence on residential real-estate prices in the city at present, but it will have a cumulative effect in the future. The industrial park will be heavily oriented toward science-based companies with relatively high levels of pay. At present, because of the perennial traffic jams, people want to live as close as possible to their place of employment. If the new developments succeed in attracting scientists and hi-tech personnel, it will have a bearing on the demographics of the city and on prices.
One of those new neighborhoods is called Het 501. Construction started nine months ago, and the first residents will move in by the end of 2014.
Het 501 is built on what was once agricultural land – citrus orchards south of the city. The process of converting the land for urban residential purposes was completed a few years ago. When Het 501 is completed, it will have 1,600 dwellings, mostly in high-rise apartment buildings of 20 to 30 floors. The new neighborhood will have schools, commercial centers, etc.
One of the developers of Het 501 is Roni Mizrahi, the general manager of the Mizrahi Group, a company that builds extensively in Holon.
“Our new project in Het 501 will improve the standard of living in Holon. We will be building spacious 120-sq.m. to 400-sq.m. apartments of four to eight rooms. Besides standard apartments, we will offer lofts, minipenthouses and penthouses, all built to a very high standard and incorporating the latest technological developments,” he told Metro.
According to Yaron Shamir, joint manager with his sister Gali of the RE/Max Avenue agency in Holon, “Despite the fact that demand in Holon has increased, as it has in other parts of the country, in Het 501 it is slow going and sales are not moving at the expected rate. One of the reasons is high prices. Most of the buyers are Holon residents who want to upgrade their standard of living. It is true that the developments in Het 501 are of a very high standard, but prices are up to 10 percent more expensive than in other areas that are relatively near, such as Het 300.
Prices for an average five-room 120- sq.m. apartment can cost from NIS 2.1 million to NIS 2.5m. Development in Het 501 will be completed at the latest by the end of 2014. At present, there are no apartments ready for immediate occupancy.”