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The company will pay half in cash, and half in a combination deal. The site is zoned for a 31-storey high-rise.

Guy Yamin 10 May 06 15:46

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Tidhar Construction Ltd. has bought the Beit Lessin site on Weizmann St., Tel Aviv, from the Rahamim family of the UK for $38 million. Tidhar, owned by co-CEOs Gil Geba and Arie Becker, Kobi Rogovin and US investors, bought a nine-dunam (1.75-acre) prime location lot occupied by the Lessin Theater and several three-storey buildings.

Tidhar will pay half the price in cash, and the rest in a combination deal, under which the Rachamim family will receive apartments worth $19 million in the project planned for the site.

In 2004, the Tel Aviv Local Planning and Building Commission approved a 31-storey high-rise and an 800-place partly underground parking garage for the site, reflecting 300% building rights, subject to demolition of some of the present structures. The Urban Building Plan (UBP) defines the lot as “brown area” zoned for public use.

Under the plan, 26,820 sq.m. of residential space and 3,130 sq.m. of commercial, office and public space will be built.

Over the past two years, the Tel Aviv municipality and landowners have been promoting a site-specific UBP for the lot with 450% building rights. The Tel Aviv Regional Planning and Building Commission is now discussing the application for the change.

Ownership of the Beit Lessin lot has already changed hands twice in recent years. The Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) sold the lot, including future building rights, to a group of investors for $14.2 million in 1999. Then State Comptroller Eliezer Goldberg sharply criticized the Histadrut for selling the lot without a tender. A few years later, the lot was again sold to the Rachamim family. The sellers made a profit of a few million dollars. Today, with the Tel Aviv luxury residential market at a peak, the lot has been sold for a third time, this time at a huge profit.

Tidhar is seeking a partner for the deal, in order to reduce its risk and financing costs
 

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