A huge urban renewal project in Beit Shemesh has advanced another stage in the planning institutions. The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Commission yesterday approved for validation a plan for vacating 333 old apartments in Beit Shemesh and building 1,900 new apartments in their place. The plan concerns the 130-dunam (32.5-acre) Bialik site in the city, which also involves non-residential use – 200 sheltered housing units.
The plan also includes 9,000 sq.m. of commercial and business space on the ground and first floors of the residential buildings.
The ratio of new apartments to old apartments on the lot is exceptional: six new apartments for each old one to be demolished. The ratio in the central region is generally between three to one and four to one.
At the same time, the inclusion of sheltered housing units is unusual in plans of this type, but there is a growing trend among planning institutions to mix a variety of uses in residential projects, including a larger number of housing units, with less burden on existing infrastructure.
The planning department today said, “This is an important plan facilitating urban renewal in an old part of Beit Shemesh with a significant increase in the number of housing units, which is badly needed. This complicated plan raises various social, economic, environmental, and other questions requiring creative and flexible solutions. The construction proposed in the plan will create an intensive urban fabric around a public foundation with continuous green spaces, public buildings, and a plan according to the principles of a neighborhood that is accessible and comfortable for pedestrians, combining uses and creating an active neighborhood center in the middle of the lot.”