Rami Levy and partner Australian Kevin Bermeister held negotiations over the acquisition of the project for NIS 123 million (about $35 million) with Yehuda Levy, Rami Levy's relative and owner of Digal's controlling interest (73%). Two days ago, however, the negotiations fell through.
Masri has previously negotiated with one of the holders of Digal's controlling interest, Meir Shemer, over the acquisition of the project and he might turn out to be a lifeline for Digal which currently owes NIS 85 million ($24 million) to the banks and another NIS 69 million ($19 million) to its bondholders.
Digal has already built 91 luxury flats in the Nof Zion development in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood. The flats were initially built for Jewish foreign investors; however, the target audience was deterred by the project's location. Instead, buyers from the national-religious movement purchased some of the project's flats. An additional 300 units are planned for the projects second and third phases.
In an interview to Calcalist on Monday, al-Masri said: "I wasn't surprised when I learned that the deal fell through. The compound is economically feasible only with the suitable target audience; we will negotiate with Digal on the condition that it will allow the sale of flats to Palestinians".
Masri wishes to separate the flats already built and those planned for future construction which he wishes to offer to Palestinians from the middle-upper class, but his attempts to acquire control over Digal were met with fierce opposition on part of right-wing activists and the project's flat-owners. This objection led Rami Levy to consider the acquisition of the project.
The opposition of right-wing activist to the construction of flats for Palestinians at the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood was expressed yet again yesterday when the construction company Bemuna, which specializes in putting together purchase groups for national-religious clients, reported that it was searching for investors to bring into the project.
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