For Israeli Diamond Tycoon, a Palatial Home Awaits in Savyon

It is unknown if Lev Leviev, the billionaire controlling shareholder of Africa Israel Investments, intends to return his primary residence to Israel.

Ofer Vaknin

Lev Leviev, the billionaire controlling shareholder of Africa Israel Investments, is building a palatial new home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Savyon, unsurprisingly in an area developed by his own company in recent years.

Leviev, who made his fortune in the diamond industry before acquiring Africa Israel, is constructing a home of some 700 square meters (2,300 square feet) at an estimated cost of 10 million shekels ($2.7 million.) Now unadorned concrete, the home features a large portico and pillars in the front.

Real estate sources said on Wednesday that most of the half-dunam lots in the area, known as New Sayon, sell for 3.2 million shekels. Leviev’s property is five times that size, which would value it at 12 million to 14 million shekels, they said.

That would bring the total cost of the home to 22 million shekels, considerably less than the $70 million Leviev is reported to have spent on a home in London’s Hampstead neighborhood, after he left Israel and his relatively modest Bnai Brak home six years ago. It’s not clear whether his new Savyon home means he is planning to return to Israel as his primary residence.

Africa Israel said that the lot is part of a 22.5-dunam plot Leviev and his family bought in 2006, two-thirds of which was acquired from the company for 36.5 million shekels.

The new Leviev home comes as Africa Israel slowly steadies itself after the expensive debt bailout into which it was forced by the 2008 global financial crisis. On Wednesday, Africa Israel completed the institutional tranche of 450 million shekels. The issue, which was met with subscription orders of about 1 bilion shekels, will be followed by the public tranche of 50 milion shekels in the next several days.

All told, Africa is raising 750 million shekels in its first debt offering since the bailout.

Photo by Ofer Vaknin
Photo by Ofer Vaknin
Photo by Ofer Vaknin
Photo by Ofer Vaknin
Photo by Ofer Vaknin