LES Synagogue Pursues Removal of Deed Restriction to Redevelop for Residential

Posted on: November 18th, 2019 at 5:06 am by

As reported last month, the Lutowisker Synagogue on the eastern fringe of Delancey Street is headed toward redevelopment. The congregation, which owns the building and has been present on the Lower East Side since 1877, hopes to construct housing atop its house of worship.

The proposal as it stands is to expand the building at 262 Delancey up to the maximum height of eight stories (i.e. 15,136 square-feet of residential space). It will be heard by Community Board 3 this week.

But there are roadblocks in the form of deed restrictions.

The Lutowisker Synagogue has been in this general vicinity since 1877, when it occupied a building on Columbia Street. A century later, the congregation was approached by the City and asked to relocate to its current location for the purposes of a NYCHA housing project that never materialized. (The land left behind was eventually deeded to the Mitchell-Llama development, Masaryk Towers.) The move also allowed the synagogue to purchase the Delancey Street property, albeit with a list of deed restrictions.

According to the application to be heard by Community Board 3 this Wednesday, those impediments are as follows:

  • No building, improvement, fence or structure of any kind is permitted on the southernmost ten feet of the lot;
  • The Owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk within that 10 feet of the lot;
  • A pedestrian and utility easement shall exist over and upon the 10 foot wide area mentioned above.
  • Any building erected on the 262 Delancey lot is limited to two stories and a maximum height of twenty-three feet;
  • Use is restricted to synagogue; No part of the building will be put to any business, commercial or industrial use.

If the city approves the removal of these impediments, then a new construction is likely.

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