The Tel Aviv District Appeal Committee ruled recently that the Africa Israel parking lot on Tel Aviv's Ahad Ha'am Street would be closed on Shabbat and on Jewish holidays, despite a demand by the Tel Aviv Local Committee that the property would remain open on those days.
The Africa Israel company, which is owned by ultra-Orthodox businessman Lev Leviev, appealed to the Local Committee several months ago, asking for a permit to add 10 more floors to its 18-story tower.
The committee argued in response that the building was missing 77 parking places and forced Africa Israel to pay NIS 3.25 million (about $788,000) to the Parking Fund.
The committee later said that the company would receive construction permit only if at least 50% of the building's parking spaces are open to the public in the evenings and on Shabbat and holidays.
Attorney Guy Kasher of the Wexler Bergman office appealed the Local Committee's condition on behalf of Africa Israel. The Central District's Appeal Committee ruled that "the committee cannot force the entrepreneur, who is a Jewish haredi man, to operate the parking lot on Shabbat and holidays.
The Appeal Committee went on to say that the decision was illegal and that the condition must be removed.
The Africa Israel tower occupies 15,000 square meters (161,458 square feet) and includes a 6-floor underground parking lot with more than 300 parking spaces.
It was recently reported that Leviev plans to sell the building. According to estimates, the tower with the additional 10 floors is worth NIS 400 million (about $97 million).