The Tel Aviv Municipality approved on Sunday a NIS 54 million budget for the construction of affordable housing in the Shapira neighborhood, a disadvantaged area in south Tel Aviv.
Despite the fact that the project was approved by the Local Planning and Building Council in early 2011, the city council only made the decision to finance the project on Sunday, after it was not able to select a private contractor. The municipal company chosen to lead the project is Ezra U'Bitzron.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said last week that he would not allow one tent to be built on Rothschild Boulevard this summer, and slammed the 2011 social protest.
It appears that the city has decided to expedite the project's construction in light of the summer protest in effort to prevent a reoccurrence of last year's events.
The project is slated to be built on a four-dunam (1-acre) plot of municipal land and consists of 69 apartments which are to be built in three buildings arranged around a yard. Each building consists of three and four room apartments, which will be about 80 square meters.
Project simulation courtesy of Ezra U'Bitzron
Twenty-four apartments will be sold to the public, while the other 45 apartments will be classified as affordable housing. The allocated apartments will be marketed for people who meet certain criteria which were determined by the municipality several years ago.
In order to qualify for the project, applicants must live in Tel Aviv for at least five years and earn no more than NIS 14,000 - either individually or as a couple. The project is intended to house young couples and requires proof that they are not supported by anyone.
The project's architect Orit Milbauer-Eyal, called it a "contemporary interpretation of public housing in Israel combined with high construction standards."
"This is a win-win situation," she said. "The project will allow the middle class to buy an apartment at a reasonable price and will significantly leverage urban renewal in the neighborhood, which consists today of a poor population."
Tel Aviv City Councilman Arnon Giladi (Likud) said the project is the first in a number of such projects planned by the municipality.
In response to the municipality's decision, Regev Kuntes and Shiri Nostzky, two of last summer's leading social activists said: "Over the last 10months we have seen several political attempts carried out by different politicians who have tried to appear as the protest's redeemers."
"Ron Huldai's interview is a mark of disgrace on democracy and social responsibility. They won't buy us with 45 apartments," they added.
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