When the Modiin Municipality decide to plan the downtown area of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, it basically decided to alter the entire planning picture of the city to date.
Form a city comprising many discrete, independent neighborhoods, the municipality has planned, for the first time, an Urban Center that will connect the neighborhoods and create a space around which they will “orbit.”
The purpose of the plan was to change the city by creating one dominant area, and to make it one of the nicest in Israel.
So what will the new Modiin Urban Center look like?
As with any self-respecting Center, the future Modiin-Maccabim-Reut Urban Center will integrate a number of uses – five-story residential buildings totaling 470 residences of various sizes, with the ground levels designated for commercial space, restaurants, and leisure.
It was only a matter of time until the Almog Group, which had already put up two residential projects in the city, would exploit the opportunity and jump into the Urban Center. The opportunity presented itself when, two years ago, the Israel Lands Administration put lots on the market along the city’s HaHashmonaim Boulevard. Almog was among the submitters of winning bids, and is already building its Almog BaHashmonaim project, aimed mainly at foreign buyers.
Almog BaHashmonaim features two 13-story towers, with the premium residences sporting 6 rooms and covering 162m² with a large balcony of 36m². Other apartments include garden apartments measuring 180-780m², and residences with private swimming pools.
“The premium apartments in Almog BaHashmonaim were planned to answer demand for large apartments that has increased in recent years,” explains the company’s VP for Marketing, Raz Schreiber. “We received many inquiries from people in the city seeking to upgrade, and from foreign residents looking to replace an older house with a new apartment in a modern complex. This audience is looking for larger apartments, which are unavailable in existing complexes in the city. This project provides solutions for that demand, and creates ‘semi-attached houses’ as part of an apartment building: in addition to their size, they boast fine finishes and luxury design elements.”
The project was planned by architect Tali Becher. The specifications include decorative entryway doors; 100cm x 100cm porcelain tile flooring; wood floors in the master bedroom; color video intercom for the entrance; electric shutters; room air conditioners; convenient storage; suspended toilets; stylish faucets; infrastructure for a home theater system; “smart house” packages with 6 operation systems; and TV and phone sockets in each room.
The rich specifications add value to an already-impressive location at the city entrance, upon an elevated promenade, such that residents of the lower floors will nevertheless enjoy a view of the Jerusalem Hills and Coastal Plain. Specifically, the project is located at the southern section of the Urban Center, right on HaHashmonaim Boulevard. In contrast, a 700-apartmnet project planned for the northern portion of the city will have considerably more difficult access to the Center, as a 6-lane road will separate the two neighborhoods. The advantage of Almog Group’s project thus become clear.
Construction in the new urban center compound will take place along HaHashmonaim Blvd., which will be developed and upgraded to a width of 46m (wider than Rothschild Blvd. in Tel Aviv). The median will see development of parkland and bike paths, with park benches, fountains, and playgournds installed along it. At the lower end of the median the Urban Center plaza will be built, to include a square that integrates open spaces, a covered commercial building, more apartment buildings, and a community facility. The middle of the plaza will be a public open space for pedestrians, and will connect the median with the Azrieli Mall in the city.
Near the southern portion of the neighborhood the city’s public transportation hub will be located, including the Modiin-Center train station and the Modiin Central Bus Station. Access to public transportation from the neighborhood, and ease of access to destinations in and beyond Modiin, are expected to be simple.
“Most of the influential cities in the world, such as New York, London, Paris, Singapore, or Tokyo have functioning, active, vibrant downtown areas. In Israel that happens in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Kfar Sava; in Modiin that hasn’t been the case. All the development in recent years was suburban, peripheral, such as large outlying neighborhoods, whose shopping centers and supporting services meant that the city’s employment centers were at the edge of town.
“That phenomenon meant the functional disappearance of the City Center, a large, undeveloped area. Today, many cities understand the importance of the Center, and have begun to renovate and upgrade them. That’s what Givatayim did; it’s what Or Akiva is doing; it’s what’s also happening in Nahariya. At the end of the day, a City Center brings together the residents of all the neighborhoods and concentrates business and commerce effectively. Modiin also understood that, and realized it needed to build an active, effervescent Center – that’s what the new Urban Center is.”
The fact that the Almog Group is among the first to develop the new space gives an advantage to buyers in their project. The company began to market its premium residences a month ago, at prices of more than NIS 3.3 million. Prices in the area currently stand at NIS 20-27,000/m², and the expectation is for apartment prices in the area to jump in the coming years. If that is what occurs when apartments are bought on paper, all the more so when the new Urban Center is already a draw for different audiences and investors who see the leasing potential, and foreign buyers looking for easy access to culture, leisure, and shopping.
“The Almog Group believes that Modiin is an ideal city to live in,” continues Schreiber. “It’s without a doubt the most-planned city in the country, so it continues to attract a high-quality population, young families, upgraders, and foreign buyers who see in it a place for community life with easy access to the center of the country and Jerusalem. With the new project we aim for a target audience that seeks to integrate life in a quiet, pastoral, green city with the quality of communal life that Modiin offers, with residence in a new, attractive project in a vibrant urban setting merged with leisure and recreation.”