Ornstein Leyton is moving forward with plans to replace a 179-year-old synagogue on the Upper West Side with a 14-story residential building.
The project, proposed for the Shaare Zedek synagogue at 212 West 93rd Street, will include 20 condo units across 39,543 square feet and a 9,350-square-foot community facility for the synagogue on the building’s first three floors, according to an application filed with the city’s Department of Buildings on Thursday. A call to principal Scott Leyton was not immediately returned.
Like several other religious organizations recently, Shaarei turned to a developer to aid with its financial woes. Though a deal hasn’t been finalized, Ornstein Leyton plans to take over the ground lease on the property for at least $34.3 million, according to documents filed with the New York County Supreme Court.
During a community board member meeting in September, synagogue president Michael Firestone said the congregation couldn’t remain solvent without partnering with a developer, DNAinfo reported. Some community members had called on the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider landmarking the synagogue’s building, but the agency determined in October that the structure didn’t “rise to the level of an individual landmark,” according to a letter filed with the court.
Partnering with a developer to combat financial hardship seems to be a popular option for struggling houses of worship in the city. In May, a Harlem church cut a deal with billionaire Moujan Vahdat to demolish its building to make way for a new residential complex.