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March 08, 1996 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The 1996
Honors Dinner

of" the organization that's
building trade with Israel!

The America-Israel Chamber of Commerce
of Michigan invites you to
an evening of

Entertainment • Inspiration • Fabulous Food
Sunday, March 17 6:30 p.m at The Somerset Collection, Troy.

Distinguished Guest Speaker:

Harry J. Pearce

Vice Chairman, General Motors Corporation

Revealing how changes in the
global marketplace will affect
GM, Israel and you!

The Chamber's 1996 Honoree:

Stephen M. Grand President

,

Deco-Grand, Inc.,

the local company that's helping Israeli firms become
links in the international automotive supply chain.

DON'T MISS THIS MEMORABLE EVENT!

$96 per person. (Dietary rules observed)
Proceeds benefit the America-Israel Chamber.

For reservations or more information,
(810) 646-1948, or fax (810) 646-9332.

(8 )624-730

Showroom Hours: Monday-Friday 11-5, Saturday 11-3 or by appointment

06

3160 Haggerty Rd. • West Bloomfield • 48323

Israeli Urban Dream
May Be A Night i

GALIT UPKIS BECK SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

M

odi'in — the Housing
Ministry's solution to the
central region's over-
crowding problems — is
suffering birth pangs. The pace of
building is slowing down, the
number of house sales is disap-
pointing and the companies con-
structing the city are showing
signs of frustration.
According to the results of the
Housing Ministry's most recent
tender to lease land for the con-
struction of 500 houses, land prices
in Modi'in have decreased by more
than 10 percent. And the average
price per plot has fallen to about
S10,600 from an average of
$12,000 in the previous tender,
published several months ago.
The only tangible evidence of
the city's extensive plans are the
bulldozers and foundations for
large-scale construction of apart-
ment complexes. (There will be
virtually no apartment buildings
more than four stories high.) In
time, this still-desolate area, just
off the highway about midway be-
tween Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is
slated to become the fourth-largest
city in the country.
Plans include modern schools,
shopping centers, sports centers,
an industrial park, modern roads,
and a subway system as well as
parks and gardens. In addition,
Modi'in will be Israel's first city
with under ground communication
and electrical cables.
In the summer of 1996, there
should be homes for over I 5,000
people, and by the year 201u, for
120,000-130,000. Ultimately,
Modi'in is expected to house some
250,000 residents. But fewer than
3,000 families have actually pur-
chased apartments so far.
Less than a year ago, following
a big advertising campaign, po-
tential buyers flocked to Modi'in
in search of a dream house. At the
building sites, they were handed
a number and asked to wait in
line.
The sales agents handed out at-
tractive prospectuses and de-
scribed the advantages of owning
a home away from the hustle and
bustle of the Dan region yet lo-
cated near employment, enter-
tainment and educational
institutions.
Following a rush to buy, people
suddenly started to lose interest.
For almost six months apart-
ment prices in Modi'in have re-
mained unchanged while sales
have reached a standstill.
In an attempt to increase sales,
contractors are giving discounts,
and designing features like rooms
that can double as an office or clin-
ic, private elevators and mezza-

( IV rt

.

;-

nine balconies. Mivnei Gazit's
Country Modi'in neighborhood has
its own private country club with
a pool, exercise room and public
gardens.
According to Gil Baram, gen-
eral manager of Rolav marketing
company, the slowdown is due to
an incomplete picture of the future
town portrayed by the Housing
Ministry and developers.
"There are attempts to place a
stigma on Modi'in. Instead of pre-
senting the public with a full glass
including all the difficulties and
problems they can expect to en-
counter, there is an attempt to pre-
sent them with a half-empty
glass," says Mr. Baram. Follow-
ing pressure from contractors, the
Housing Ministry is considering
offering government location as-
sistance loans to Modi'in apart-
ment buyers. The loans might
encourage the city's settlement
and development but the govern-
ment's approval process is ex-
pected to take time.

Plans include
modern schools,
shopping centers,
sports centers.

Contractors blame lower prices
on the drop in demand for hous-
ing. Also culpable is Aryeh
Mizrahi, director general of the
Housing and Development Min-
istry, who announced in October
that "apartment prices will fall
within a few months."
Amir Rahlevski, general man-
ager of Grufit Public Works &
Building, says, "It was a mistake
to create expectations that the city
is only for young couples who are
in search of very cheap housing."
Grufit is constructing a neigh-
borhood of 106 houses. Prices vary
from $125,000 for a three-room
apartment to $180,000 for a five-
room and $220,000 for a duplex
apartment.
According to Yisrael Ben-Yakar
Gat, manager of Ben-Yakar Gat,
Modi'in is targeted at the middle
and upper class. The company is
developing a neighborhood of 500
luxury apartments and cottages
on one of the highest points in the
city.
"Our aim is to attract customers
from the higher socioeconomic
groups in the country, families
that are searching for luxury
rather than bargains," says Ben-
Yakar Gat.
Transport problems have also
deterred many potential buyers.

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