Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Development Site Gets Going with $162M Loan

Posted on: December 30th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Dattner Architects

The controversial, two-towered development slated to top the hallowed grounds of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is set to proceed, thanks to a multimillion-dollar construction loan.

The Gotham Organization and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group joint venture behind the project just nabbed $162.4 million in debt from Wells Fargo and US Bank to move forward. Together with the construction loan, the project realized a $235 million capitalization, according to the Commercial Observer.

Earlier this year, Dattner Architects filed paperwork to construct the two-tower development known as GO Broome, which sits adjacent to the wall of glassworks that is Essex Crossing. The filing came weeks after City Council approved the rezoning of this parcel to accommodate such a large mass of real estate. Then, in July, the Landmarks Preservation Commission rescinded landmark status of the demolished synagogue site.

Co-developed by Chinese-American Planning Council nonprofit and the Gotham Organization, the project is composed of nearly 520,000 square-feet, spread across 488 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.

Thanks to this loan, the first to commence construction 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 follow sometime in Spring 2021.

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.”

After the fire, May 2017

In May 2017, a teenaged arsonist torched the landmark. The three-alarm fire was nearly absolute in its destruction, leaving behind one tower and a mountain of rubble. (It took another two years, and the death of a construction worker, for cleanup to complete.)

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