Fire-Ravaged Beth Hamedrash Hagadol will be Redeveloped into Senior Housing

Posted on: September 8th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

Cherish the old photos. The fire-ravaged Beth Hamedrash Hagadol as it once was is finished. Demolition is on the precipice – the job was approved by the city and Landmarks Preservation Commission. Thereafter, plans are afoot for redevelopment of the property into an extension of the senior housing next door.

Not completely a surprise. Rabbi Greenbaum and the Chinese-American Planning Council (senior building at 40 Norfolk Street next door) “embarked on a collaboration” – purportedly before the blaze destroyed the 167-year-old synagogue – to create a development atop Beth Hamedrash that would serve the Jewish and Chinese communities alike. The house of worship would be rehabilitated through the sale of its air rights (estimated pre-fire at some $12 million), and there would be affordable housing and community space. The plans were first revealed to the community back in June during the CB3 Landmarks subcommittee meeting approve the demolition.

Seems the subsequent fire didn’t really deter the partnership.

The LPC approved the demolition, albeit partial, of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol back in July. Most of the existing structure will fall, and the remainder incorporated into the proposed development as memorial or new synagogue building.

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol in the 1960s, Photo: Carole Teller

The community will have input on the application next week (September 13) during the CB3 Land Use subcommittee meeting.

Proposed mixed use development by Chinatown Planning Council Housing Development Fund Company including significant additional affordable senior housing on parking lot adjoining Hong Ning senior residence at 50 Norfolk St incorporating 60 Norfolk St, (Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue remaining structure).

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol fell victim to arson; 14-year-old David Diaz allegedly set it ablaze on May 14. He was arrested days after the massive fire and charged with third-degree arson. A day later, though, the minor was reportedly released into parental custody without any charges. Two pals who were with him during the burn job – he allegedly lit a curtain on fire – were considered “witnesses,” according to NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill at the time.

Recent Stories

Uncapped: Beneath the Paint with the Legendary AUDIE U5

This latest installment of Uncapped is more than a year in the making, and we are stoked to have Audie U5 join us. BOWERY BOOGIE: Audie U5. Welcome to the series. Instead of the cherished and/or default “what do you write?” how about, why do you write “Audie?” Audie U5: Always Undeniably Dope In Everything!  Nah, […]

Man Jumped to His Death from Ludlow Street Rooftop

A man jumped to his death from a Lower East Side tenement rooftop Wednesday night. The unidentified man, believed to be in his twenties, took the plunge from atop 175 Ludlow Street at about 11:45pm. The suicide victim reportedly lived alone in a studio apartment there, according to a report in the Daily News. An […]

Here’s a Map Showing How the Lower East Side Voted in the City Council Election Last Week

With more than a week having elapsed since the general election, the above map plots the results of the City Council District 1 race. It was a heated campaign that saw incumbent Margaret Chin fighting for her life against the upstart Christopher Marte. Chin defeated Marte by nearly 3,000 votes to secure a third term […]

Cafe Henrie Shutters on Forsyth Street After 2 Years

Cafe Henrie, the artsy eatery founded by nightlife maven (and street artist) Andre Saraiva on Forsyth Street, closed earlier this week. Thus capping two years on the block. All elements of the establishment are gone, replaced with token brown paper in the windows. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall back in the summertime […]

What’s it Like Living or Working in Hell Square? [SURVEY]

What’s it like to live and work in Hell Square? That’s the question behind the second phase of the Hunter College graduate program study that analyzed public health and safety risk of liquor density on the Lower East Side. No, this isn’t a farce. It’s a legit effort to figure out a way to make […]