Israeli Developer Promoting Sale of Lots in a Neighborhood That Don’t Exist

Kfar Sava municipality demands that Trigo Investment Group cease and desist.

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Officials at city hall in Kfar Sava are fuming over an advertising campaign launched by a developer, Trigo Investment Group, for the sale of the right to an apartment in a neighborhood that doesn’t exist and has not even received final planning approval.

The advertising refers to the neighborhood as North Kfar Sava and Kfar Sava Hayeruka 2, and in the face of criticism of its advertising, Trigo points out that the neighborhood is in the planning stages.

City officials says the advertising, which is featured on billboards throughout the Sharon region as well as in Tel Aviv, as well as in newspapers and the Internet, has generated dozens of inquiries a day to the Kfar Sava engineering department from potential buyers interested in the status of the new neighborhood and wondering when construction will begin.

Trigo, said one city official, is misleading the public into thinking that the neighborhood exists, with details such as where the neighborhood shopping center and school will be located. “It’s simply deception,” said the official.

The advertising refers to about 1,500 dunams (nearly 400 acres) of privately-owned agricultural land in northern Kfar Sava, an area currently bordered on three sides by urban neighborhoods. On the north it is bordered by Moshav Tzofit. Trigo is promoting the “right to an apartment” for 339,000 shekels ($89,000), meaning a tiny plot of land which the company says it expects to result, once plans for the neighborhood are approved, in the right to build an apartment on the land.

“The planned program is to build thousands of apartments in a residential complex that spans over dozens of acres,” Trigo’s English-language website stated as of Tuesday. “The project quickly became a huge success and is currently in advanced stages. There’s a reason why they call it the next big thing in Kfar Saba!”

But city planning for 1,000 of the 1,500 dunams for the mixed-use neighborhood is only in its most preliminary stages, TheMarker has found, and it is still too early to know what the housing density of the neighborhood might be or whether a particular plot sold to a buyer would be zoned for half the area of a home, or for retail use for that matter. City legal adviser Alon Ben-Zaken has sent Trigo a letter demanding that it halt its advertising campaign.

“At this stage, there is no certainty with regard to the zoning, the scope and the location of plots that would be given to [buyers] of land,” Ben-Zaken wrote to Trigo. “Sole responsibility for any damage caused by [your] advertising will be placed on you.”

Trigo, however, cited other parts of the letter as confirmation that the neighborhood is in the planning stages, saying that the city’s letter states: “The Kfar Sava municipality is devoting major efforts into advancing a detailed plan with respect to land reserves in the north of the city, including planning for various land zoning: residential, commercial and employment-related.” Trigo added that it would examine its advertising and make changes to it if warranted.