30-Story Tower at Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Site Takes its Spot in LES Skyline
It’s not enough to have Essex Crossing dominate the Lower East Side skyline around Delancey Street. Now, another.
The hulking tower rising from the literal ashes of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol is already halfway to the top, currently sitting at a healthy fifteen stories. This much after the better part of a year under construction.
As previously reported, the block-long parcel on Broome will sprout two towering buildings. This is the first phase; 55 Suffolk Street, a thirty-story beast with 378 apartments, one-quarter of which are considered “permanently affordable.” The adjoining affordable development at 64 Norfolk Street is next, slated to rise sixteen stories, and follow later tendrils year.
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, various 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.
The synagogue itself, designated a city landmark in 1967, 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 May 2017, a teenaged arsonist torched the landmark. The three-alarm fire was absolute in its destruction. There were no charges for the crime.