Original Home of Roumanian-American Synagogue on Hester Street Sells to Brazilian Developer for $5.9M

Posted on: May 19th, 2016 at 5:10 am by
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The original home of the First Roumanian-American Synagogue at 70 Hester Street (designed by Frederick Jenth in 1881) finally sold this month after an extended period on the open market. A few years after the first listings first surfaced, Brazil-based real estate developer Eduardo de Souza Ramos of Cerfco Participações acquired the three-story building for $5.9 million. The final price was nearly $3 million less than the ask last year.

Mr. de Souza Ramos reportedly purchased the property so that his son could “utilize the upstairs and the wraparound balcony for a recording studio.” The cafe space, which is partially complete (i.e. turnkey) and almost opened as Nibbles Cafe, will be leased as previously planned, according to the Commercial Observer. There is also a basement retail space.

You’ll recall that ambitions were rather grandiose for 70 Hester Street back in December 2013. At the time, Christine Svenningsen of CSC Landscape Holdings purchased the historic, Moorish-style structure for nearly $4 million. The original plan was to create sidewalk accessible basement retail, a first floor “ultra modern” establishment called Nibbles Cafe, and potential gallery space on the second floor with wraparound mezzanine (the onetime mechitzah for the synagogue). An artist couple (Thomas Nozkowski and Joyce Robins) who resided here since 1967 – previously on a month-to-month arrangement – was booted during the requisite conversion.

According to the Observer, Svenningsen no longer felt like opening a cafe at 70 Hester Street.

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