Yigal Zemah has represented Berggruen Holdings in Israel since January 2006. He participates in creating a long-term diversified private equity and real estate portfolio in Israel in addition to serving as a director of Berggruen Residential Limited.
We caught up with him to find out more.
LM: How long have you worked in the luxury property sector, and please tell our readers a little more about Berggruen Residential.
ZY: I have been working in the Luxury residential sector since 2002, firstly with the Aurec Group before I initiated Berggruen with Nicolas Berggruen in 2006 which I took public in 2007. Berggruen focuses on super luxury towers with an emphasis on unique design made by star architects like Richard Meier. What we bring to the luxury sector is that we’re creating art from architecture as we believe that residential towers are urban functional art.
LM: The Meier-on-Rothschild Tower is thought of as Tel Aviv’s finest luxury living space. Can you tell our readers more about this stunning development?
ZY: The iconic 42-storey Meier-on-Rothschild Tower designed by Pritzker Prize-Winning international architect Richard Meier has attracted a multitude of wealthy purchasers, from across the world, with over 90% of the apartments already sold, achieving record total sales figures in excess of NIS 950 million.
The specification of the apartments in the tower is of the highest quality including spacious rooms, high-ceilings, bespoke designer kitchens, Carrara marble clad bathrooms, bespoke cabinetry to the built-in wardrobes and dressing rooms and Smart Home technology for entertainment, climate control and security, as well as residents enjoying the best views of Tel Aviv and beyond.
Located at 36 Rothschild Boulevard, the wide tree-lined Parisian-style Avenue in the centre of Tel Aviv’s famous commercial, restaurant/café and nightlife district, the Meier-on-Rothschild Tower is ideally placed in the city, a cosmopolitan beachside location, with heat for 9 months of the year. The city’s numerous districts have an array of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and shopping malls, as well as a vibrant youthful culture. The local government recently introduced a scheme, similar to London’s ’Boris Bikes’, with people able to hire bikes and cycle around the city, taking in the landscape, the beach and cycle along the promenade from North Tel Aviv to Jaffa.
LM: There seems to be a property boom in Tel Aviv at the moment. Why is Tel Aviv attracting so many international investors?
ZY: As the business and financial centre of Israel, Tel Aviv attracts a multitude of national and international investment, which has led new-build properties to be highly popular, as investors look to be close to business interests.
Tel Aviv attracts mainly overseas wealthy Jewish individuals that wish to have a second home here or somewhere to stay in the summer. Saying that, the Tel Aviv market is also fuelled by domestic investors. Israel boasts a high number of high net-worth nationals, including one of the region’s only female billionaires, Shari Arison, who also fuel the Tel Aviv property market, as they flock to the multicultural commercial and leisure hub. Forbes recently reported that Israel boasts 18 billionaires, with a combined net worth of $51.75 billion, placing them as the second highest contributor to the Middle Eastern billionaire list. Overall, Israel contributes five of the top 10 net worth billionaires in the Middle East. Israel also has a large amount of millionaires, in relation to the countries size, with over 11,000 millionaires.
LM: Israel is proving to be a great destination for global technology companies such as Intel, Google, IBM and Microsoft to name but a few. How will this impact the luxury property sector in the region?
ZY: Currently, Israel has the highest density of tech start-ups in the world, which attracts more venture capital dollars per-capita than any other country. This status has attracted a number of global technology companies, with Intel employing almost 10,000 people in Israel, as well as Google, IBM and Microsoft all having Research and Development centres in the country.
Of course this trend increases the demand for luxury property in Israel, but it is mostly true for rental properties, as we tend to see representatives, employees and delegates of these companies come to Tel Aviv on secondments, rather than relocate entirely, therefore, lessening the need to purchase a property outright.
Click the link below for page two of our interview with Yigal Zemah