The Congregation Shearith Israel is about to start excavation work on its long-delayed nine-story community and condominium project next door to its synagogue at 8 West 70th Street.
The project, first proposed in 1983, has gone through many iterations, the Wall Street Journal reported. The synagogue’s original plan was for a 42-story apartment tower. The tower was chopped down to 14 stories in 2002 and then to its current nine stories in 2006.
Now, the planned building will have five condos, including a penthouse, and some units will have views toward Central Park, according to the Journal. It will also house three levels of classrooms, a catering hall and a wheelchair-accessible entrance for the synagogue.
There is a rub, however: ongoing community opposition. Neighbors say the 106-foot tall building will block light and views and Landmark West!, a preservation group, is concerned about precedent the zoning exemption the synagogue was granted in 2008 by the Board of Standards and Appeals, the Journal reported. The ruling allows the synagogue to build taller than the 75-foot height limit at the site.
Also pending is a Department of Buildings’ “notice to revoke” issued last fall, which threatens to withdraw permits for the project, the Journal reported.
The congregation moved to the landmarked building, which is over 14,400 square feet, at the corner of Central Park West and West 70th Street in 1897. [WSJ] — Dusica Sue Malesevic