Shari Arison to build a 40 storey tower near London Ministores

Shikun & Binui explores changing the existing plan from a 17 storey office tower to a 40 storey mixed use residential and office tower

11.11.15 | Shlomit Zur

According to "Globes", Shikun & Binui Real Estate, under the control of billionaire Shari Arison, plans to build a 40 storey building on the lot on which the London Ministores' car park operates. The lot, which is owned in the main by Shikun & Binui, (link to S&B share value) is located on the corner of Shaul Hamelech and Dubnov Streets, covering approximately 2.3 dunam (2,300 sqm) and since 2007 has had city zoning approval for the construction of a 17 storey office tower above retail floors. The lot is even marked on the municipality maps as designated for future zoning of up to 40 floors, following its exclusion in 2004 from the building restrictions set by the UNESCO declaration of the White City as a World Heritage Site.

As part of the zoning plan promoted by Tel Aviv Municipality (TA/5000), which is soon to be given effect, the Municipality asked to define the entire zoning area from Shaul Hamelech Street in the north, Ibn Gabirol and Carlebach in the west, Dubnov, Laskov and Heftman in the east to Sprinzak in the south, and which is included in the UNESCO declaration, as a zoning area where construction is limited to a height of only eight floors. The significance of the limitation is a decrease in value of the Shikun & Binui lot, as well as other lots such as ZOA House and Journalists' House, by tens of millions of shekels and more.

Shikun & Binui Real Estate filed an objection to the new master plan through attorneys Ronen Yardeni and Yael Urieli of law firm Hamburger Evron & Co., and requested that the exclusion of the lot from the construction limitations remain valid to allow the construction on it of a 40-floor tower, similar to other towers near the lot, such as Shaul Hamelech Tower, Judges' Tower, Amot Tower, and Daniel Frisch Tower. The objection was also supported by the opinion of architect Danny Kaiser, former Tel Aviv City Engineer.

In a supplementary report by researcher Ze'ev Amit, who heard dozens of objections submitted against the master plan, Amit recommended acceptance of the Shikun & Binui objection so that the height restrictions in the area would not apply to the lot, to which should be applied zoning provisions for a metropolitan employment area near mass transportation, which does allow construction of up to 40 storeys. The Tel Aviv District Zoning and Construction Committee decided to adopt the Amit recommendation, and accept the Shikun & Binui objection.

From research conducted by "Globes," it transpires that Shikun & Binui Real Estate is currently examining the promotion of a specific plan for the lot, including the possibility of constructing a mixed use residential and office tower through a change in the existing city zoning plan in a process that is expected to continue over several years. Notably, the apartment residence of Shari Arison, the controlling shareholder in the company, is located only a few meters from the lot, in the Judges' Tower on the corner of Ibn Gabirol and Shaul Hamelech streets, as are the Arison Group offices on Shaul Hamelech Street.