Council Seeks to End Tama 38 Urban Renewal Program

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of a collapse in a newly renovated section, of the Tama 38 renewal project of an apartment building in Kiryat Bialik. (Meir Vaaknin/Flash90)

The National Planning Council would like to see the Tama 38 refurbishing program come to an end – in what would be a blow to many owners who bought apartments in run-down buildings, expecting that the program would eventually refurbish their property.

In a statement, the Council’s legal department said that the Tama 38 program is set to expire in 2020. “The preference of the Council is to advance projects for urban renewal on a neighborhood basis, providing support for public needs to improve the lives of all residents. This is in contrast to programs that provide assistance to single points or buildings,” as the Tama 38 program does.

The Tama 38 program is specifically designed to upgrade older buildings to meet modern earthquake conditions, and has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of funding for the upgrade of thousands of buildings around the country. As part of the upgrade work, the program refurbishes public areas of buildings, and also adds a safe room to apartments, most of which do not have them. The bottom line for many owners of apartments in Tama 38 buildings is an increase in value of their property by 10% or more.

The Council’s word on the matter is far from the final one; the decision on extending the program belongs to the National Planning Commission. However, said Globes, the Council’s stance is likely to weigh heavily on the decision. The Housing Ministry, as well as many contractors and construction companies, oppose ending the program, the report said.

The Ministry said that failure to renew the program would lead to even more expensive apartment prices. “You cannot stop everything in one day,” a Ministry official said. “Urban renewal is responsible for 15% of housing starts in the economy, and most of those were in Tama 38 programs.” If renewed, the program would be extended for another five years.