Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Development Hits 20 Stories on Broome Street

Posted on: January 5th, 2022 at 5:04 am by

Between Essex Crossing and the development rising atop the former Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, the blocks of Broome Street between Ludlow and Clinton are essentially a canyon of glass. And the former is not finished rising.

The synagogue replacing structure – a two towered beast years in the making – is slated to ascend roughly thirty stories into the Lower East Side skyline. This week, the superstructure stands at about twenty stories, dominating the Seward Park environs.

Visible now is progress toward the first phase of construction; 55 Suffolk Street, the thirty-story market rate newcomer with 378 apartments, one-quarter of which are considered “permanently affordable.” The adjoining affordable development at 64 Norfolk Street is itself nearly topped out.

Co-developed by the 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.

Their legacy ended in May 2017, when a teenaged arsonist set flame to the landmark. The subsequent three-alarm fire was absolute in its destruction. There were no charges for the crime.

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