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Donovan LLP Represents Upper West Side Synagogue in Sale of Building to Developers

Originally Published in the Upper West Side Patch

Written by Brendan Krisel


UPPER WEST SIDE, NY — A New York State Supreme Court judge has ruled in favor of an Upper West Side synagogue petitioning to sell its 179-year-old building to a real estate developer in the hopes of tearing it down and replacing it with a mixed-use development, Michael Firestone the president of Congregation Shaare Zedek wrote in a letter to the congregation.

After the celebration of the Jewish High Holidays, Congregation Shaare Zedek will vacate its West 93rd Street building in what Firestone called "a tremendous milestone" for the synagogue. While the current building is demolished and replaced by a 14-story shared by the synagogue and a condominium complex the congregation will move into a temporary space at the Franciscan Community Center on West 97th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, Firestone wrote in his letter.

"The coming days and weeks will mark a transition period for Shaare Zedek as we undertake the process of moving out of the building in anticipation of the final High Holidays in our beloved sanctuary," Firestone wrote in his letter. "As with all partings, I expect that it will be tinged with sadness. Yet it should also be a time for hope and optimism."

Congregation Shaare Zedek filed demolition plans for its current three-story building in November, but a sale to developer Ornstein Leyton was not approved until Tuesday. Earlier this month Ornstein Leyton filed plans with the city Department of Buildings to construct the building that will replace the synagogue located on West 93rd Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway.

The new 14-story building would rise 169-feet-tall and contain 20 apartment units, according to the building plans. Of the total 48,993 square feet, 39,543 will be zoned for residential use and 9,450 will be zoned for community facility use.

Congregation Shaare Zedek will occupy the cellar, first and second floors of the new building, according to plans filed with the city DOB. The synagogue will also have access to a terrace on the third story, according to the plans. Congregation officials have argued before Community Board 7 that the sale and re-development of the synagogue site is necessary to keep the congregation financially afloat.

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