A State Supreme Court judge granted Congregation Shaare Zedek’s request to sell its synagogue at 212 West 93rd Street, clearing the way for the building to be demolished and redeveloped. The building was constructed in the early 1920’s and dedicated in 1923.
“This was the final approval necessary to proceed with closing the real estate transaction, and it is a tremendous milestone for our community,” wrote Synagogue President Michael Firestone in a note to congregants. The ground lease will reportedly be sold to developer Ornstein Leyton for at least $34.3 million.
The new building is expected to rise 14 stories and include three stories for Shaare Zedek at the bottom. The synagogue’s leaders said they had to sell in order to keep up with expenses and keep the congregation vibrant.
The plan has been opposed by neighbors, but their attempts to get the synagogue landmark protection failed. Opponents from the West Nineties Neighborhood Coalition (WNNC) asked the court to stop the sale, and demand that the synagogue provide more documentation.
Members of the group raised concerns that the synagogue had not effectively marketed the property for sale and was selling at a below-market price after apparently rejecting offers from other religious organizations. The synagogue noted that the offers from other religious organizations were “not substantial enough to be viable or constitute a qualified bid.” A memorandum laying out opponents’ concerns was filed with the court. Members of the group are shown in a picture from the courthouse below. It was sent by group member Ronna Blaser.
The congregation, established in 1837 by Polish immigrants, expects to celebrate the High Holidays at the current building and then leave after Yom Kippur, holding a farewell celebration on September 10. It will hold services at the Franciscan Center on West 97th Street during the construction.