Tempers are flaring in Israel. The Master Plan for the development of North Tel Aviv in place of the Sde Dov Airport terminal is expected to receive approval of the Local Committee for Planning and Construction this coming Wednesday.
The plan includes almost everything: 16,000 residences, parks, schools, malls, a boulevard, and even a 2,500-boat marina. But in the background there are those attempting to delay the giant plan that has been moving through various planning institutions for the last decade, initiated by the government and with the consent of the private landowners of the properties.
It turns out that the Ministerial Legislative Committee is expected to introduce a bill to prevent the airport relocation. 70 of 120 Knesset lawmakers support the bill, by which the civilian aviation facility will continue to operate as before. If the proposal passes, the fate of the Sde Dov relocation project remains in doubt.
The government proposal results from pressure over the last year from Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who wish for Sde Dov to maintain its current location and function, with the argument that it is crucial for the residents of Eilat.
The Sde Dov area measures about 1.3km², 800 of which serves as a military zone owned by the State, and the rest of which is owned by hundreds of private holders. 16,000 homes were planned for the area, in keeping with the respectable range for any new city. Under the agreement between the State and the owners, the State will receive building rights on about half the area, in exchange for revenue of about NIS 4 billion. The proceeds from those sales are earmarked for funding the Shoham 3 Agreement, which governs the relocation of IDF bases to the Negev.
Attorneys managing the compound on behalf of the hundreds of private owners are wondering how the State could choose a route that bypasses High Court rulings that would have it forfeit NIS 4 billion destined to grace the Treasury’s coffers. In 2012 the government decided that the airport would be relocated by the end of 2018. Civil aviation operations were supposed to cease by April 2017 (in keeping with a High Court ruling on the matter), and military activity there was to stop in January 2019.
In the last few years a steering committee with representatives of the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), Tel Aviv Municipality, and representatives of the private owners of the properties in the compound, has been pushing the plan. In 2009 the Tel Aviv Municipality asked four architectural firms for proposals regarding the compound. Proposals were received from Yaar Architects, Lehrman Architects, Kaiser Architects, and Mazor Furst Architects.
The known composition of apartments so far is said to be diverse, such that a quarter of the residences will have 2 rooms, another quarter will have 3, and the remainder 4 and up. Economic forecasts indicate that even the small residences will be too expensive for most of the population, affordable only to households earning in excess of NIS 30,000 per month. Estimates of three-room apartment prices place them at a starting figure of NIS 2.5 million; 4-rooms starting at NIS 3 million; and 5-rooms starting at NIS 3.5 million.