Construction Begins on 30-Story Development at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Site
To stand in the intersection of Broome and Suffolk Streets is a lesson in claustrophobia. A canyon of ten-foot plywood dwarfing those who pass. All thanks to dueling developments – ongoing Essex Crossing, plus a newcomer across the way.
That’s right, the gargantuan development replacing the burned-down Beth Hamedrash Hagadol – dubbed GoBroome – is now officially underway. The $162 million construction loan secured last month certainly paved the way.
As previously reported, the site will sprout two towering buildings. This first phase to see action is 55 Suffolk Street. It’s a thirty-story beast with 378 apartments, one-quarter of which are considered “permanently affordable.” The adjoining affordable development at 64 Norfolk Street is slated to rise sixteen stories, and follow sometime in Spring 2021.
Co-developed by Chinese-American Planning Council nonprofit and the Gotham Organization, the overall project is composed of nearly 520,000 square-feet, spread across 493 apartments, commercial retail, and community facilities. Of the residential tally, 209 residences are earmarked affordable housing (115 for seniors). There is also a 4,000 square-foot commercial condo for Beth Hamedrash Hagodol.
Beth Hamedrash Hagodol was the first American congregation established by immigrants from the Russian Empire, and was the oldest Russian Orthodox house of worship in the country. The historic Gothic Revival structure it occupied was built in 1850 as a Baptist church and purchased by the shul in 1885 for $45,000 (about $1.2 million today). In its 1967 landmark designation, the LPC found that “Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Synagogue has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest, and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural characteristics of New York City.”
In May 2017, a teenaged arsonist torched the landmark. The three-alarm fire was absolute in its destruction.