Jerusalem’s First Station complex to add housing, hotels, retail

The Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee has approved plans to further develop the city’s First Station complex, adding housing and hotel units as well as expanded retail and commerce options to the areas surrounding the attractive center that currently houses restaurants and shops.

The new urban mix of units will stretch between the neighborhoods of Abu Tor, Baka and Talbiyeh where the existing center is located, and it will expand on the recent renovations of the past decade – with the new additions to be built on an area of 7.5 hectares (18.5 acres) of land.

The First Station, located between the German Colony and Yemin Moshe neighborhoods, was once Jerusalem’s main railway station. Opened in 1892, the station marked the end of the Jaffa-Jerusalem railway line.

It served as a main transportation route and was one of the most important entrances into Jerusalem but the old Ottoman structure was left derelict when the station closed in 1998 and trains making the almost three-hour journey from Tel Aviv via Beit Shemesh came to a halt at the new station at Malha.

Over the past decade, following extensive renovations and conservation work, the First Station has turned into a center for leisure, culture, culinary and sporting activity – revamped to feature an open-air promenade with numerous shops and restaurants. The disused tracks have been turned into a walking path and a parallel cycling lane, while the areas along the track host a string of parks and outdoor areas, adding some calm to Jerusalem’s busy streets.

The new developments are actually three separate projects that can each progress independently. All will prioritize the preservation of the historic structures located along the old line that will be integrated into the new public spaces.

The first project, initiated by the Israel Lands Authority that hired Melis Architects to commission its designs, will build multiple 5- to 10-story buildings across 4.3 hectares of land, housing 200 residential units, 250 units for assisted living and 6,000 square meters of commercial real estate space.

Some 2,500 square meters will be allocated for educational and religious institutions.

The second project, which will be completed by Margalit Startup City, is to be designed by Rosenfeld Arens Architects and built on a plot of 1.7 hectares, creating a complex for startups and innovation projects aimed at bringing thousands of new hi-tech jobs to the capital.

The plans also include the construction of 200 residential units and 4,000 square meters of commercial office space. An additional 7,500 square meters will be allocated for educational institutions, such as a national headquarters for pre-IDF service programs.

The new structures will further expand on the existing Margalit Startup City complex, based in the Old Mandate Printing House adjacent to the First Station.

The third project, to be taken on by Rakevet Ba’Moshava, will build on 1.3 hectares where 270 residential units, including affordable housing for younger adults, as well as 70 hotel rooms and 3,000 meters of street-level commercial space will be constructed.

“This is one of the largest and most important projects in the city. It stands to generate thousands of additional hi-tech jobs in Jerusalem,” said Mayor Moshe Lion. “Both the municipality and I will continue to support and develop Jerusalem in the coming years: in construction, residential areas, commerce and hi-tech.”

Source Article