WATCH: The Emek Refaim Light Rail Visualized

Despite the efforts of the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ginot Ha’Ir Community Council to disseminate details about the future blue line of the light rail, there is still a great deal of confusion about how the train on Emek Refaim will operate and how the street will look once the project is completed.

This may be due, in part, to a disinformation campaign that has been trying to derail the project since its announcement, but two new visualizations by the Jerusalem Transportation Master Team (JTMT) have been released that may help to clear things up.

Emek Refaim North

Emek Refaim South

For more details, check out the Emek Refaim Light Rail Plan and the Jerusalem Transportation Master Plan.

WATCH: The Emek Refaim Light Rail Visualized

WATCH: The Innocent Door

Today, Jerusalem is constantly forced to grapple with issues surrounding its ancient history and future growth. This is not a new phenomenon, however, as demonstrated by this short documentary from 1973.

In it, the viewer is given a first-hand look at the very beginning of the transformation of the city’s architectural character through the eyes of its residents and planners, including Moshe Safdie.

Of note is how similar today’s conversation is to that of days past.

WATCH: The Innocent Door

Migdal HaRakevet

If there is one name that has become synonymous with the reshaping of Jerusalem’s skyline, it’s Pei, Cobb, Freed, and Partners.

Responsible for the two towers of Mitcham Etz Chaim, Mitcham Kiach, and Benin, there will be nary a vantage point in Downtown Jerusalem from which their work will be hidden. With the recent announcement of Migdal HaRakevet, the firm expands their architectural influence to the city entrance.

Situated next door to the nearly-completed HaUma Railway Station, the building’s visage will loom above the circular opening of the transportation hub, commanding the gaze of commuters arriving from Tel Aviv via the high-speed rail.

As this building will be the first site many visitors to Jerusalem will see, it is clear that its design is meant to inspire the observer, deviating from the sharper angles seen throughout the neighborhood and even the firm’s other structures in the city.

The result is a concept not dissimilar to the twisted style of the newly completed Azrieli Sarona Tower. The sweeping edifice will stand 36 storeys above ground and will serve exclusively as an office tower, connecting below grade to the railway station beside it.

Once completed, the building will be the centerpiece of the 13 planned towers of the Jerusalem Business District, transforming the urban fabric of the area and, indeed, the city.

A completion date was not available at the time of posting.

Migdal HaRakevet

Guest Post: Understanding the Israeli Fair Rental Law

Today’s post comes courtesy of Avi Bieler from Kalpi Blog, an English-language website dedicated to providing non-ideological coverage of Israeli politics and policy.

Thanks for having me!

The editors and massive general staff of this blog asked me to break down the recently passed renter’s rights law.

In the past, I covered the first reading of this bill, so feel free to check out that piece for a basic rundown of the kind of protections that this law is enacting.

As this is a construction blog, I want to consider this law from a different point of view. Namely, that of the contractors and owner.

The law is fairly simple: Terrible apartment owners who rent out their spaces while making no effort to care for them will now be forced to meet minimum standards.

When I wrote the first article, I heard stories from people that were sad/hilarious. One owner hired a contractor to fix a toilet, took the toilet out and then… nothing. For months. But don’t worry, he gave the renter a key for another toilet down the street.

Because leaving a rental contract and finding a new apartment is complicated and the rental market is so tight, predatory land owners could get away with this behavior. This law stops that.

The consequences of laws that impact economics are as unclear as a teenager’s skin, however. In a recent example, the government slashed the price for 3-4 year preschool. Consequently, parents had more disposable income and began to use it to take care of their other preschool needs. Unsurprisingly, the price for 2-year-old preschool shot up in the process and the price of education for 2-5-year-olds only fell by 3% as a whole.

The free market giveth and the free market taketh. Blessed be the free market.

It is sensible to ask how this law will affect rental prices even as it improves rental conditions. I know that in apartments I’ve lived in, owners have stored some of their belongings in the apartment, a practice that they now must stop. Will this be enough for them to ask for more money when renting the apartment? How much money?

Additionally, I’ve had friends live in terrible apartments that were not up to the standards set by the law, but which were good enough and cheaper. Will the owners now pull these apartments from the market and decrease supply? Will they fix them up and then charge significantly more? Could this law scare investment owners from purchasing new apartments thereby affecting building contracts?

I obviously could tell you the exact answers to all these questions, but then why would you ever come back to read Jerusalem Construction News or Kalpi? In the meantime, keep on reading.

Guest Post: Understanding the Israeli Fair Rental Law