Mitcham Etz Chaim


Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the firm tasked with projects like the Grand Louvre and the US Holocaust Museum, are now planning on preserving and updating the Etz Chaim Yeshiva complex. Situated next door to Machane Yehuda, the firm is sensitive to the needs and history of the location.

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A street-wall hotel is being constructed on the scale of the buildings that run along Yafo. The existing portal on the outer wall will welcome visitors and passersby alike into a courtyard garden, shopping center, restaurants, the existing structures (which will be public buildings), and two new towers:


The towers will each be 24-storeys with a total of 24,100 sqm. and they will accommodate modestly sized apartments. The shutters, visible in the mock-up above, are a unique design feature that changes based on how the rooms are being used. The firm claims that they are based in local tradition.

Underground parking is another attractive new feature, in addition to publicly accessible amenities including a swimming pool and health club, part of which will make use of and preserve a historic cistern.

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Mitcham Etz Chaim

The 2015 Budget

Nir Barkat Budget

Jerusalem’s budget for 2015 was announced and detailed by Mayor Nir Barkat’s office last week. Because it is only available in Hebrew, I thought it pertinent to translate the points that may relate to construction and improvement of the city and its aesthetics. Keep in mind that the list lacks much specificity and only points relevant to this blog have been included.

The total 2015 budget is 4.92 billion shekels and the development budget is 1.8 billion shekels.

Community Projects
  • A “unique program” will be launched to enable the municipality deal with poverty in Jerusalem.
  • An employment center will be built in East Jerusalem.
  • More Aliyah will be encouraged, particularly from France.
  • Apartments will be renovated for the homeless.
Public Buildings
  • Public swimming pools will be built in Beit Hanina, Har Nof, Armon HaNatziv, Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev.
  • Planning for an Olympic-sized swimming pool in Malcha will continue.
  • Planning for a park in Pisgat Ze’ev will begin.
Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Dozens of new roads will be built in East Jerusalem.
  • 200 electronic signs will be placed at bus stops.
  • Motorcycle parking facilities will be installed.
  • More bicycle parking areas will be installed.
  • Construction plans will be expanded throughout the city.
  • Construction of the City Entrance Project will go forward.
  • Planning of the Old City cable car will be finalized.
  • Digging for the underground Shazar parking project (near Binyanei HaUma) will begin.
  • Master plans will be devised for neighborhoods and business areas.
  • The list of buildings to be preserved in the city will be completed.
  • Planning and permits will continue for the extension of the light rail lines and the future of public transportation in the city.
  • Reforms in the amount of time it takes to receive building permits will continue.
Culture, Sports, and Entertainment
  • Gan Sacher will be improved and a coffee shop will be added:Sacher Park Coffee Shop
  • Upgrades of all sports fields will continue.
  • Planning of “Park Extreme” for bicycles will begin.
  • Bike paths and walking trails will be added throughout the city.
  • More fitness facilities will be added to city parks.
  • Construction and renovation of buildings used for youth programs will continue.
Appearance of the City
  • More street cleaners will be added to clean more neighborhoods.
  • Teams will be tasked with removing graffiti.
  • More garbage containers will be placed throughout the city.
  • There will be dedicated maintenance teams for the Downtown area.
  • The rate of improvement of public gardens and areas will be increased twofold.
  • More lighting will be added to public areas.
  • Emek HaTzvaim Park will open.
  • Construction will begin on Gonenim Park.
  • Dozens of sidewalks and roads will be renewed.
  • The Jerusalem Recycling Center will open.
  • Composters will continue to be distributed to residents.
  • More neighborhood recycling centers will be added.


The 2015 Budget

yes Planet Jerusalem


Hot on the heels of Cinema City Jerusalem, yes Planet – designed by architecture firm PAZGERSH – is scheduled to open this summer.  Located on the Sherover Promenade, this 28,500 sqm. complex will feature six floors with 16 theaters, an IMAX screen, an art gallery, restaurants, shops and more. The location is owned by Cinema City International NV – which operates theaters under the Rav Chen and yes Planet names – not to be confused with the Israeli theater chain Cinema City.

yes Planet Jerusalem Interior

The complex is being built on private land, which will allow for it to be open on Shabbat. There will be non-kosher options in addition to kosher ones. This is in stark contrast to Cinema City which is not allowed to be open on Shabbat because it is built on public land. As a result, Cinema City is faced with a competitor that they will be legally unable to compete with on a potentially lucrative day.

Whether Jerusalemites are clamoring for another massive theater complex at all is another story.  Movie attendance is dwindling in the United States, but statistics for Israeli habits are unavailable. There is one certain major lacking in Jerusalem cinema, however, and that is class:

Cinema City Jerusalem
The master lesson on how to lack subtlety, taste, and style: Cinema City Jerusalem.


yes Planet Jerusalem

Isrotel German Colony

Isrotel Jerusalem 1 Isrotel Jerusalem 2

The next in Isrotel’s expanding portfolio of hotels in Israel is currently under construction at the corner of Emek Refaim and Derech Beit Lechem. Like the recently completed Waldorf Astoria, the Isrotel will also be built upon a landmark area, will have both residential and hotel space, and will be exorbitant and luxurious.

Designed by Feigin Architects, the hotel will boast 250 rooms, a spa, restaurants, meeting spaces, a conference hall and most other amenities expected in a 5-star hotel. The historical Templers buildings that stand at the site have been gutted and will become residential space. A total of eleven residences will be constructed in the 2,200 sqm. space and will sell for an average cost of 70,000 NIS per sqm.

The hotel is being built, in part, with a grant of 450 million NIS from the Jerusalem Ministry of Tourism. Due to the increase in demand for hotel space in Jerusalem, the municipality has made it easier for builders to gain approval for projects and begin construction with relative speed. Because of this, a public outcry about maintaining the quaint charm of the neighborhood and, more importantly, the views of the Old City, went ignored. Expected completion is in 2015.

Isrotel Jerusalem Under Construction
The construction site as seen from the street in December 2014.
Isrotel German Colony