Israelis build 'mini Tel Aviv' in Kiev


An Israeli company is building a luxury residential complex in Kiev, modelled on the fashionable Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv Gimmel.

Development company Seven Hills, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Benny Steinmetz, is currently the only foreign company to continue building in Kiev despite the credit crunch.

The first two 24-storey buildings in its Park Avenue project, near the centre of the city, will be completed in December. In total, 1,150 flats will be built in nine towers on a plot of 40,000 sq m. However, the buildings are built in such a way that any single floor can be easily converted into one huge flat.

The architects and senior engineer are all Israeli, as is much of the technology.

“The project is an attempt to build a city-within-a-city like in Ramat Aviv Gimmel,” said the company’s CEO in the Ukraine, Arie Schwartz, a 33-year-old from Kibbutz Dorot. “My aim is for the standard of the flats we build in Kiev to be identical to standards in London or Prague or anywhere else. There is no reason why the Ukrainian client should get any less, like they got used to.”

The reinforced front doors in the building are by Israel’s Mult&Lock, the water sprinkler system around the building is by Netafim, and even the rubbish disposal system is Israeli. The rubbish chute closes hermetically and is washed each day with water and cleaning products, preventing an odour problem.

“We use lots of Israeli technology because it allows us to reach the highest standards for comparatively low costs,” said Mr Schwartz.

“It also gives us a solution to the upkeep of the building, which can be problematic in the Ukraine. For example, the whole system for saving electricity is made in Israel, all the engineering systems were designed by Israelis. The local architects simply did not manage to get the lift to go to the parking lot, but for the Israelis it was simple.”

The Park Avenue neighbourhood will also include a large commercial area with a supermarket, bank, pharmacy, hairdresser, dry cleaner, swimming pool, restaurant and bar, office space and a fitness centre in the middle of the site.

Currently, in the first two buildings prices range from $127,000 for one bedroom to $492,000 for a four-bedroom flat. Although the financial crisis is badly affecting the Ukraine, 88 per cent of the flats have already been sold, some to Israelis living in Kiev.

Seven Hills is a member of the Scorpio Real Estate Ltd, an international property investment and development group operating across central and Eastern Europe which is also responsible for the second phase of the Canary Wharf Dockland redevelopment.

Israeli businessmen invested an estimated half-a-billion dollars in the Ukraine this year, including in high-tech, tourism, banking and insurance.

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