Deal signed to clear Tel Aviv’s Dov Hoz airport for housing

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Housing Minister Uri Ariel, and Transportation Ministry director-general Ettie Itzhak sign deal.

airport at sde dov_311 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
airport at sde dov_311
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, and Transportation Ministry director-general Ettie Itzhak on Wednesday signed an agreement to close Tel Aviv’s Sde Dov Airport and replace it with housing.
“After decades, we’ve made the historic decision to allocate the resources to clear the airport,” Lapid said.
The Israel Lands Administration will invest NIS 230 million to build a replacement airport at Ben-Gurion Airport by June 2016, two years earlier than originally planned.
The historic airport, located on a prime strip of real estate along the sea between Tel Aviv’s Yarkon River, its swanky Ramat Aviv neighborhood, and the booming luxury apartments sprouting up in the city’s north, was built in the late 1930s and is used for both short commercial flights and as an Israel Air Force base.
The land cleared will be used to develop new buildings, which will contain 16,000 housing units, commercial space and hotels. With the airport gone, restrictions on building height in the area will be relaxed, clearing the way for permits for another 6,800 housing units.
“This is the largest land reserve in the Gush Dan region, which will be used to build thousands of housing units, to the benefit of young couples,” Ariel said, adding that the Israel Lands Administration was expected to expedite the planning process.
“Our goal is to hit the target dates or even move them up as part of the overall policy of accelerating building in high-demand areas,” he said.
Lapid situated the move as part of a larger plan on housing, and praised the Tel Aviv Municipality for its help, saying that local cooperation was “more rare than you might think.”
“One of the open secrets about housing is that in many cities in high-demand areas, mayors object – sometimes vocally, usually behind the scenes – to building smaller apartments of three to four rooms, which are in the highest demand,” the finance minister said.
The reason, he said, was they produced less property tax.
Also on Wednesday, the Housing Ministry announced a significant drop in the price of housing for the second quarter of 2013. The prices of new homes fell 10.5 percent in real terms, while second-hand home prices fell 1.5 percent from the previous quarter.
According to the ministry, the drop represented a correction to inflated prices, but may have also resulted from the real estate market believing that the government would take serious steps to reform the market. The improving international economy, however, may have also played a role in the relative attractiveness of investing in Israeli housing.