Hamburger Evron & Co.

Ahuva Eisner claimed ownership of 23 square meters in the precinct designated today for offices and residences; the District Court argued that she had missed the moment, as it was more than 20 years since the plan had been filed for objections

The Hassan Arfa precinct has for years gripped the real estate scene in the center of Israel. This precinct covers about 80 dunam (80,000 sqm) in the center of Tel Aviv, one of the largest land reserves still remaining in the city and for which there are plans for 14 office and residential towers, of an area of 270,00 square meters.

Recently the Tel Aviv District Court dismissed the claim of Ahuva Eisner, who asked to be registered as a holder of rights in the precinct, and ordered her to pay costs amounting to 60,000 shekels to the developers, Rubinstein Buildings Limited and the Omninet Company.

 In her lawsuit, Eisner claimed that she was previously a holder of rights in the precinct; that she is the owner of 23 square meters of a parcel of 7.1 dunam (7,100 sqm) that the companies later acquired. Throughout the years, the Hassan Arfa precinct was under the undefined ownership of many owners. In 1996, a plan was approved for the precinct that changes the zoning from industry to offices and residences, while carrying out a process of consolidation and distribution of rights (reparcellation) in the precinct, without the owners’ consent.

 Eisner argued that in the reparcellation process, she was not allocated rights in the precinct because of an error in registration made by the Land Registry Office, so that as of October 2009 she is not listed as having any rights whatsoever in the compound.

At the end of 2011, Rubinstein Buildings entered into contracts with most of the holders of rights in the said precinct (approximately 85%) to acquire these rights, with Omninet acquiring the remaining approximately 15% of the rights. In her claim Eisner argued that for decades she had held a property at 6 Yitzhak Sadeh Street on which there was a building, and demanded of the court that it declare her the owner of 23 square meters of said plot.

Judge Shoshana Almagor denied Eisner’s claim and ruled that over the years Eisner had not objected to the plan that was approved in 1996 and deposited for objections 6 years prior to that, and had also not filed a lawsuit against the Land Registry Office, which had omitted her name. Almagor accepted the arguments of the Rubinstein and Omninet companies, which were represented by attorneys Ori Primo and Ram Museri of law firm Hamburger Evron & Co., whereby it is not possible to now challenge a reparcellation plan approved in 1996, and that if Eisner thought that the method in which the rights were allocated deprived her, she should have objected to the plan in a timely manner. Almagor also determined that Eisner’s testimony is not credible, and that in practice the plan had not erased her rights, but had allocated her rights to a different plot in the precinct.

Almagor also noted that to accept Eisner’s objections to the allocation tables could have harsh consequences on the companies, which had acted in good faith when they acquired the plot.

Almagor ruled that if a defect had occurred in the conduct of the planning authorities in the preparation or registration of the plan, Eisner should have instituted legal action against them. However, since she did not file an objection to the plan, there is no cause to prejudice the expectations of the companies, and their situation should not be worsened.

The Hassan Arfa compound, which is located opposite Maariv House, Rubinstein Tower and Hamasger Street, was for years occupied primarily by garages and workshops. Although the plan for the compound was already approved in the 1990s, the central difficulty in its implementation arose from the fact that the rights belonged to hundreds of different owners in common.