Before and After

After 18 years, some of them controversial, the Azrieli Center Hashalom Project is finally complete.

azrieli center 88 298 (photo credit: Courtesy)
azrieli center 88 298
(photo credit: Courtesy)
It took 18 years for architect, real estate developer and shopping mall pioneer David Azrieli to realize his dream - but tonight, he will celebrate his 85th birthday by introducing his family, friends and Israel's business community to the third tower - the square- in the Azrieli Center Hashalom Project, which was once one of the most controversial issues in Tel Aviv. 'You needed to have a wild imagination to believe in Azrieli's vision when he started this project,' Menachem Einan, president of the Azrieli group, said Monday. 'People without an imagination saw us as the national bottleneck.' On average, the complex is visited by more than 40,000 people a day and that number will rise considerably once the interior of the square tower is divided into shops, offices and a prestige business hotel. Total investment in the project has been $500 million, with the square tower running $50m.