Plans Cleared for Giant Business Center at Jerusalem Entrance

Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee also decides to significantly expand Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

Tess Scheflan

Plans for a new business center in Jerusalem, slated to be one of the largest of its kind anywhere in the country, will go forward after an agreement was reached in recent days between the Jerusalem municipality and the Finance Ministry on funding the project.

The accord, whose formal signing is expected in the coming weeks, will give Moriah, a development company controlled by the Jerusalem municipality, responsibility for carrying out the plans, which are expected to cost the national treasury about 1.2 billion shekels ($347.1 million).

The actual work on the project, which is to be built near the western entrance to the city in the area of the Central Bus Station and city’s main convention center, is slated to begin within a few months. With easy access to the Tel Aviv highway and train station now under construction, the new business center is expected to attract jobs to the city and generate significant amounts of property tax revenue for the municipality.

It will be built on a 211-dunam (52-acre) site and feature 731,000 square meters (7.8 million square feet) of commercial space in eight towers. For purposes of comparison, the Azrieli towers in Tel Aviv have 150,000 square meters of space, just over a third of the projected space in the Jerusalem complex. Plans for the complex include 2,000 hotel rooms and also call for the expansion of the Central Zionist Archives and the International Convention Center, commonly known by its Hebrew name, Binyanei Ha’uma.

In addition to the nearby Central Bus Station and the light rail line that runs through the area, another light rail line serving Jerusalem will be routed in the vicinity and a new train line under construction from Tel Aviv will connect up at the site. The Jerusalem municipality and the government will split the cost of the transportation infrastructure for the new business center.

In a related development, the Jerualem Planning and Building Committee late last week approved plans for Shaare Zedek Medical Center to nearly double the land area of the hospital site from 46 to 82 dunams. The plans will also enable Shaare Zedek, which is the fastest growing hospital in the country, to triple its floor space to 283,000 square meters.

The project calls for the construction of three new buildings in stages, including a patient room tower. The plans were developed to accommodate the major increase in the number of patients the hospital has been serving, and to meet the hospital’s needs until 2035.