Extell inks contract for Upper West Side synagogue

Parcel at 44 West 66th Street has 75K sf of development rights -- and is next to Megalith site

Congregation Habonim at 44 West 66th Street and Gary Barnett
Congregation Habonim at 44 West 66th Street and Gary Barnett

Gary Barnett’s Extell Development signed a contract to buy a parcel at 44 West 66th Street that is now occupied by a synagogue. The parcel is adjacent to a development site that builder Megalith Capital Management recently purchased.

Barnett signed the contract in April to buy 44 West 66th Street from Congregation Habonim, city records published this month show. The site, which PropertyShark shows has 75,000 square feet of development rights, is located between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, and is adjacent to the three-building package that Megalith bought for $85 million at 36-40 West 66th Street in March.

Extell’s purchase price was not disclosed in the document, called a memorandum of purchase and sale agreement. The filing set the closing for October 31.

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Megalith’s CEO Samvir Sidhu filed plans last week to demolish the three buildings, information on the city’s Department of Buildings show.

Brokers familiar with the site said there had been prior efforts to assemble a much larger development, noting that the synagogue is next to two properties with a large amount of excess air rights.

The larger is media giant Disney’s landmarked building at 52 West 66th Street, which has 132,338 square feet of excess development rights, while the other is the the vision-impairment nonprofit Jewish Guild Healthcare at 15 West 65th Street, which has 68,600 square feet of available development rights, information from PropertyShark shows.

One of those previous options included demolishing the synagogue, and then rebuilding a tower with about 25,000 square feet reserved for the congregation, one source said. The congregation, the Guild and Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Extell declined to comment.