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Be’er-Sheva - Development Trends 2007
The city of Be’er-Sheva today has about 200,000 residents.
The population has grown from 113,000 in 1989 to about 200,000 today.
Be’er Sheva has 15 neighborhoods today of which five were built in the last decade: Neve Menchem, Ramot, Neve Ze’ev, Neot Lon and Nahal Beka. The number of housing units in Be’er-Sheva stands at about 70,000.
The area of municipal jurisdiction covers about 84,000 ,000 square meters today, with large areas of land for significant growth with the approval of Be’er-Sheva’s new municipal borders.
The education system has grown in recent years and the number of students is about 40,000.
Since the start of the 1990’s about 70,000 new immigrants have come to Be’er-Sheva, most of them from the former Soviet Union and a small number from Ethiopia and other countries.
In Be’er Sheva, located in the center of the State of Israel, a transport infrastructure has been developed in recent years including ring roads, the paving of the Cross Israel Highway (6) to the Dimona Junction, and an intensive upgrade of the railway. Today 36 trains run daily between Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv and by 2008 the journey time will have been shorted to just 45 minutes.
The University and
Other Academic Institutions
University today has about 18,000 students.
The University’s development program is based on an increased in the number of students.
Technological College and The Sami Shamoon Academic Engineering
have 5,000 students enrolled (including students in various training courses)
Kaye Teachers College
has about 2,000 students enrolled.
The Open University
has about 1,200 students enrolled.
The total number of students in the city amounts to about 26,000
The age structure in Be’er-Sheva (according to the 2006 census).
0-5 – About 8% of the population
6-17 – About 17% of the population
18-34 – About 28% of the population
35-54 – About 25% of the population
54-64 – About 9% of the population
Over 65 – About 13% of the population
Over 100,000 residents of Be’er Sheva are younger than 34.
Since the start of the 1990’s, in the wake of major development and receipt of Development Area A status for investment capital, Be’er-Sheva has been an especially attractive location for entrepreneurs and investments.
The city’s industrial areas have grown significantly and today cover 7 million square meters, some of them almost fully occupied and some of them currently being marketed.
Today Be’er-Sheva is acting to development new industrial zones.
Since the establishment of the company for the development of industrial zones, the management has been working to upgrade industrial zones.
Alongside population growth, there has been a remarkable building boom. About 30,000 housing units have been built in the city in recent years and most of them are occupied. Thousands of additional housing units are in various stages of construction and planning. Five new neighborhoods have been put up, part of them with houses and gardens, which enjoy rapid landscape development, paving, lighting, roads and sidewalks.
Among the principle projects: the Rambam neighborhood, Lev Ha’Ir Towers in the Heh neighborhood, construction of homes and landscaping along Yitzhak Rager Boulevard, construction in Ramot, construction in Neve Zeev and the south neighborhood complex, the stadium area and others.
Window of Opportunity
During 2006 a window of opportunity was opened for Be’er-Sheva to promote the targets of the metropolitan plan:
- A change of national priorities and definition of the development of the Negev and Galilee as top of the national agenda.
- The southern plan stresses a renewed Negev at the center of national activities and Beer Sheva as the important junction in the heart of the metropolitan area – a budget of NIS 17 billion has been allocated with the first stage of NIS 150 million in 2007.
- Transferring various IDF units to the Negev with elite corps among them.
- The development of Be’er-Sheva in the past decade – development of projects that ring the changes in culture, employment, entertainment and leisure.
- Completing the development of transport infrastructures to and from the city.
Development of the Old City
Within the framework of this project, works for the development of a cultural-commercial center in the Old City are being implemented.
As part of the development of the Old City as “tourist route” is being planned around cultural and artistic focal points along the way.
Among the steps being taken are the development of Smilansky and Trumpledor Streets as part of the joint plan with the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and the Be’er-Sheva Municipality. At the same time in this complex the construction of the Cultural, Art and Media Center for Young People was recently completed.
The Negev Museum reopened less than a year ago after it had been shut down for a long period. The project was funded through grants from the Mifal Hapayis national lottery and the Be’er-Sheva Municipality.
Furthermore, the development of the Science Park began with funding from the RASHI-SACTA Foundation, Be’er-Sheva Municipality and additional donors. The scope of the project amounts to about $15 million. The project should be dedicated in 2008.
The Be’er-Sheva Municipality has prepared a detailed plan for the development and upgrading of Be’er-Sheva’s Old City and works to promote cooperation with government ministries: Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Housing & Construction, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Labor and Ministry of the Negev and Galilee.
Developing Yitzhak Rager Boulevard
This project includes the development of the entire length of Yitzhak Rager Boulevard. Development is planned from City Hall to the northern entrance of the university including massive construction along the road such as 1,600 new housing units, commercial projects, public institutions, and parklands.
The main investment is from the government and the project is in the height of construction. Along Yitzhak Rager Blvd. a Teacher Training College has been built and Be’er-Sheva’s new Cultural Center is almost completed.
The cultural center project cost about $21 million and includes two halls for 950 and 450 people. The project, which will soon be opened, was funded by Mifal Hapayis, the Meyerhoff Foundation and the Be’er-Sheva Municipality.
Developing Transport and Infrastructure Projects
Completion of the ring road in the direction of the western neighborhoods, and completing the Ramot road to the Dimona highway, adding lanes, developing Hebron road and more.
The laying of an infrastructure recently began for the second track in the development of the rapid Tel-Aviv to Be’er-Sheva rail link reducing the travel time between the two cities to less than an hour. This project includes the construction of a Transport Center in the heart of the government center alongside the existing Egged Bus Terminal. This investment is being made by the government and there is a program for the ongoing upgrading of the lines.
Establishing a High-Tech Park
Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Beer-Sheva Municipality have joined forces to set up an R&D complex for high-tech industries. The Israel Lands Administration has allocated an area of 600,000 square meters adjacent to the University for the science complex. The establishment of the science complex will leverage the swift economic development of the Be’er Sheva urban region. The plans has been approved and registered with the regional committee.
At the same time the transfer of the Be’er-Sheva North station to the university campus and science complex has been approved to create access for students and investors and make the area more attractive.
Initial Planning of Conference and Fairs Center
A Conference and Fairs Center is planned in the south of the city as part of the development plan for tourism and leisure in Be’er-Sheva’s southern entrance. The project is in its initial planning stages. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor is funding the planning and the project will be built on an area of 200 to 300,000 square meters in the Bet Eshel region.
Private entrepreneurs and government ministries have invested millions of dollars in Beer Sheva’s industrial zones.
Dozens of new factories were set up in these areas in the 90s. (Beer-Sheva has Zone A status within the framework of the government’s Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments).
In the commercial and office sectors there is also a clear trend of setting up new commercial centers and a proliferation of plans for office buildings.
Following the success of the Negev Shopping Mall, two additional shopping malls have been built, one in the Yud Aleph neighborhood and the second in the Vav neighborhood and construction has been completed of a large commercial center in the Neve Menachem neighborhood.
At the same time there are two large commercial centers on the fringes of the city (Power Centers), which include a range of marketing chains and large factory stores. An additional commercial center is about to be built in the industrial zone on the Dimona Highway. In the coming months construction of a shopping mall in the Neve Zeev neighborhood will begin.
Preparing the Be’er-Sheva Metropolitan Master
The new master plan for Be’er-Sheva was recently approved by the local committee and has moved for debate in the regional committee.
The partners in the program are: Be’er-Sheva Municpality, Israel Lands Authority, Be’er-Sheva office and Ministry of Interior. At the same time preparation of the plan for the Be’er-Sheva metropolitan region has been completed and recently approved by the National Council for Planning and Construction.
Setting Up a Government and Civic Center
The Government Center includes a courthouse and complex of government offices that will serve all government ministries alongside industrial zones, a promenade and the highest level landscaping and parklands. The Government Center project has been completed and is occupied and includes the development of an attractive pedestrian precinct, broad streets and services for employees and visitors.
Establishing a Metropolitan Sports Center in the
North of the City
A large sports complex will soon be built covering 225,000 square meters, which will include a central stadium with 32,000 seats. In the first stage the stadium will have 16,000 places.
The complex will include an area of five training pitches, changing rooms for players, referees rooms, underground parking, restaurants, offices of the sports associations and clubs, a soccer school and private boxes. The work for the training pitches is about to be completed.
The stadium will be built according to the specifications of the Israel Football Association and will meet the stringent international requirements of UEFA and FIFA.
Be’er-Sheva Municipality has initiated a project called Stadium Neighborhood to market the land on which the existing stadium stands in order to leverage the new stadium. The planned area includes 235,000 square meters and is located between Shimshon and Yehuda Halevy Streets at the meeting point of the Aleph, Bet, Vav and Heh neighborhoods. This represents the last important reserves of land for quality residential housing in the heart of Be’er-Sheva.
The neighborhood will include 2,000 exclusive housing units and office and commercial developments and will be characterized by high-rise construction and a spacious park with green areas between the buildings.
Nahal Be’er-Sheva Park
Nahal Be’er-Sheva Park is a joint venture of the Be’er-Sheva Municipality, Jewish National Fund, the Drainage Authority and the Ministry of Environment. The park is planned by a team headed by architect Aryeh Rahamimov and includes many attractions along its route. The park extends from Tel Sheva in the east to Neve Zeev in the west for eight kilometers and includes hydrological rearrangements for the riverbed and its banks and involves a promenade along the river and various projects such as an amphitheater, botanical gardens, an 80,000 sq.m. lake, sports facilities etc.
During 2005 the park’s first project was opened – the Paamon Park at the southern entrance to the Neve Zeev neighborhood.
Israel Air Force Technical School
In the coming months the new Israel Air Force Technical School is scheduled to open at the western entrance to the city. The school was established by the Sacta-Rashi Foundation, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education and Be’er-Sheva Municipality.
Hatzerim Park is a joint venture between Be’er-Sheva and the Bnei Shimon Regional Council. The joint venture will be set up west of the city near the zoo and will include tourist attractions and projects for people’s leisure and entertainment.
The Israel Lands Administration has recently published a tender for the establishment of a motor park in this area alongside additional planned attractions such as a hippodrome, events gardens, JNF forest, biblical park and more.
Purification Center in the
West of the City
The project for the establishment of a wastewater purification plant for Be’er-Sheva was implemented in the short time of 24 months by Minrav Co. and includes a large wastewater purification installation, which purifies the wastewater of the city and the region and produces recycled water for irrigating agricultural fields. The plant produces 19 million cubic meters of recycled water each year.
The installation is one of the largest and most innovative in Israel. The purification plant is located in the west of Be’er-Sheva and serves all the region’s settlements: Ofakim, Segev Shalom, Nebatim, Tel Sheva and more.
The Municipality is currently carrying out works to broaden the infrastructure taking the wastewater from east Be’er-Sheva to the purification plant. The project is about to be completed. The Municipality also plans the Be’er-Sheva Water Recycling project which will be set up with assistance from the Ministry of Infrastructures which will provide recycled water for the city’s public areas, parks and agricultural fields.
As the fourth largest metropolitan area in Israel, Be’er-Sheva works to strengthen cultural and arts facilities in the city for the benefit of its citizens and residents of the entire Negev.
Alongside the Theater and Sinfonetta other important cultural facilities have been established in recent years as additional focuses among them:
Young Adults Center
The Young Adults Center for Culture, Arts and Communications is a flagship project in the area of creative activities. It is a unique project for excellence, which strives to nurture, encourage and raise artists, producers and media professionals in Be’er-Sheva. The Center represents a magnet for talented creative talent and will enable them to acquire the professional experience to reach out for national recognition.
The Young Adults Center was established in the center of the Old City. In the Center is; a performance auditorium, a multi-purpose hall with 400 seats, cinematheque and editing rooms, communications center including TV studios, radio studios, radio production and recording studios, an exhibition hall, drama and dance studios, music rooms and classrooms, a newspaper for young adults, pub-restaurant, and an amphitheater with 500 places (on the building’s roof).
Bat-Dor Dance School
The Bat-Dor Be’er-Sheva City School for the Arts and Dance is a partnership of the Be’er-Sheva Municipality, Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Tel Aviv Bat-Dor Association for the Arts and Dance.
The aim of the school is to train dancers and at the same time enable other children who want to encounter art and dance to receive the best professional instruction.
Be’er-Sheva Municipality through the donations it has collected from Chicago and the Bat Dor Foundation joined together to establish the Dance School. The school has three studio rooms, a large lobby, a music room, library, changing rooms and offices. The building was put up in the city’s Gimmel neighborhood close the Aleph Comprehensive High School.
Be’er-Sheva Municipality in cooperation with Ben Gurion University, the Negev Development Authority and Be’er-Sheva Theater has promoted the establishment of an acting school. The school was opened last year and this year the second group of students has begun studies. The school is located in the municipal theater building, which has been renovated and adapted to the needs of the school through a contribution from Mr. Godman of Chicago.
World of Children Museum
This future museum will be put up in the west of the city. The museum will be located in a new building of more than 4,000 sq.m. in the Neve Menachem neighborhood which will serve as an important magnet for children up to the age of 12. The project is being funded by the Sacta-Rashi Foundation, Be’er-Sheva Municipality and contributions from overseas.