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

With LES Gentrification at Critical Mass, the Time is Now to Pass Universal Rent Control [OP-ED]

Bob Angles, a resident living in one of the affordable units of Essex Crossing, penned the following editorial. Secondary displacement, better known as gentrification, has been creeping up and down our streets for the past decade. Yet, with the arrival of thousands of new, unregulated apartments between the Extell tower (i.e. One Manhattan Square) and […]

‘The First Time I Saw The Ramones’ at the 72 Gallery on Orchard Street

Photographer Tom Hearn spent the night of July 22, 1976 at the Acadia Ballroom in New Haven, Connecticut. Attending at the behest of friend Legs McNeil, co-founder of Punk Magazine, that was the first time he saw the Ramones play live. And he captured it on film for posterity. Now, those images are on display […]

Epstein’s Bar is Whitewashed and Rebranded as ’82 Stanton’

In other news of nightlife name changes, the rebooted Epstein’s NYC is no longer. The bar is still there, of course, but the newish ownership is now trying on a new identity. Last week, Epstein’s painted its corner facade white. A literal whitewashing of its image, perhaps to shed its skater sports vibe for something more […]

He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of the Twilight Sad

Hot off the release of their fifth album It Won/t be Like this All the Time earlier this year, Scottish outfit The Twilight Sad have been hitting the stateside tour schedule pretty hard. Maybe a little too hard – their Boston show at Sonia was nixed due to a strain on James Graham’s vocals. We […]

Kushner’s $65M Purchase of Hotel on Rivington is Tripped Up

The Kushner Companies’ multimillion-dollar purchase of the Hotel on Rivington is reportedly on shaky ground. Last November, the firm entered into contract to acquire the twenty-story glass eyesore for $65 million. Fast forward six months. According to documents filed in New York Supreme Court Tuesday morning, uncovered by The Real Deal, Kushner Companies demands that […]