The gentrification of the Machaneh Yehudah market area continues apace, with the latest nod to modernization authorized by the Yerushalayim Building and Planning Commission this week. Two apartment towers, with a total of 184 units, were approved for construction. Forty-four of the apartments will be studios or one-bedroom units, suitable for singles or young couples. In addition, 70 hotel rooms will be constructed.
The two 24-story towers will be built directly across from the open-air market, on a lot of 8 dunams that is currently occupied by stores and apartments in two-story buildings that are over 100 years old. The current buildings will not be torn down, but instead they will be refurbished, with the towers to be built atop them.
The new buildings will include a mini-shopping mall that developers promise will be “in character” with the open-air marketplace. Parking, always a problem in the area of the shuk, will be covered with an underground parking facility that will descend five stories below ground. The street in front of the buildings, currently a traffic-choked artery, will be converted into a pedestrian plaza.
The Machaneh Yehudah market area has undergone significant changes in recent years, both within and outside the site. New office and residence towers are being built on the site of a former large parking lot, while inside the shuk changing tastes have brought in a plethora of gourmet fromageries, ethnic restaurants and high-end coffee shops mixed in with the traditional greengrocers, butchers and bread-bakers.
Shira Talmi, a member of the Planning Commission, said that the new plan “will make a significant contribution to renewing and developing the area and the center of the city. The plan will provide a response to the changing needs of the city, with an emphasis on blending in with the existing buildings,” she added.