Bat Yam – A Creative Opportunity?

In the recent past I have been writing about possible up and coming cities that could be the next best real estate investment.  To this end I’ve mentioned both Haifa and Hadera.  Well, how about Bat Yam?

Bat Yam is a small city to the south of Jaffa. It is four kilometers in length and about one and half kilometers in width.  It does not have a lot of open land on which to expand. However, according to a recent article in “Globes” newspaper by  Merav Moran, the lack of available land can be an advantage to Bat Yam.

According to Moran this lack of land can turn into the next destination for Israel’s “creative sector”.  The “creative sector” is a term coined by the economist Richard Florida and it applies to young, educated entrepreneurs at the start of their careers. This can include architects, high techies, product designers, musicians and movie makers.

This type of population tends to live in areas in which the prices of real estate have not yet risen. These areas are usually highly crowded and the uses of the buildings are mixed between residential and commercial and are close to public transportation. Therefore these neighborhoods are transformed into another “place that never sleeps”.  They neighborhoods become “the next best place” and the new dwellers usually take part in the urban improvement of the town in which they live.

Other examples of this can be seen in Neve Zedek and the area around Shenkin Street.  In Haifa, there are hopes that the lower city will become just such a place.  Moran hopes that the town planners of Bat Yam will not succumb to the urge to build tall towers while leaving large tracts of green spaces. He hopes that the city may remain as a crowded urban space with mixed use.

If it adopts this approach then we could see as successful a real estate bonanza as the Florentine neighborhood in southern Tel Aviv where real estate prices have soared for the same reasons.