Saturday, February 3, 2007

Invasion of the outsiders and the house opposite

This is the rooftop view to the south. A formerly handsome building with unusually grand balconies in the 'eclectic' style. An identical twin with its neighbour, it once served as the labour court and later, in disrepair, as a temporary home for the homeless and the hooked.

Pretty much the same picture appeared on the front page of The Marker, Ha'aretz's business magazine, yesterday. It turns out that the building was purchased by a group of British businessmen for $7 million. After it is renovated the entrepreneurs hope to sell the luxury apartments at prices starting at $2 million! (or they're just saying that in the hope that it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy).

At any rate it looks like we're going to have some rich neighbours . I can't help wondering how much increased value this might project onto our modest building.

Regardless of finances, the renovation of the building opposite is certainly going to beautify this end of the road. There are still lots of architectural pearls to be found around here waiting for a major cash investment. According to the article , market forces, combined with the edgy fear of European Jews looking for a pied-a- terre in Tel Aviv will do the trick.

This is what the same building will (hopefully) look like a night in a few year's time.

There are many other project development projects financed by prosperous Jews from France, the UK, Belgium and Italy who have either recently made aliyah or who have one foot in the country. Most of their customers are other real or potential olim with a taste for an elegant home with a European feel to it and enough strong euros or pounds to pay for one. This property invasion of the 'outsiders' is mainly being conducted abroad but is already having a deep effect on our environment. Sometimes it is for the good, like the house across the road, and sometimes the result can be ruinous, like the Neve Tsedek Tower built to grab money from foreign Jews while also ruining our view, our light and the low-rise proportions of the neighbourhood.

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