Designs revealed for major mixed-use project on Lower East Side synagogue site

September 19, 2019

Rendering of the larger, 30-story tower by Dattner Architects

In 2017, the Lower East Side’s abandoned 1850 Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue, which once housed the city’s oldest Jewish Orthodox congregation, was severely damaged in a fire. The following year, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) and developer Gotham Organization began floating plans for a two-towered, mixed-use development on the site, and they’ve now announced that the project is entering the city’s uniform land use review procedure (ULURP). The plan includes a new headquarters for the CPC, retail space, and 488 new rental units, 208 of which will be permanently affordable with 115 set aside for affordable senior housing. Dattner Architects will also incorporate the remains of the former synagogue into a new meeting space and cultural heritage center for the congregation.

Rendering of the 16-story, synagogue-inclusive tower by Dattner Architects

Earlier this summer, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the developers’ plans to demolish the synagogue’s surviving south tower after it had been deemed unsafe. Last month, drilling began at the site–officially known as 60 Norfolk Street–which sits directly across from Essex Crossing. The CPC owns the parking lot on which the 30-story tower is being constructed (as well as the Hong Ning affordable senior residences next door) and will be leasing the land to the Gotham Organization, the income from which will help develop additional community programming. To erect the 16-story tower, they purchased the land from Beth Hamedrash Hagadol.

This 30-story tower on Suffolk Street will include the CPC’s new 40,000-square-foot headquarters, 93 affordable apartments, and 18,600 square feet of retail space intended to be “small-scale retailers” that can serve the local community. The adjacent 16-story building is located on Norfolk Street and will hold 155 affordable units for seniors. The remaining 280 apartments will be market-rate rentals.

The Norfolk Street building will incorporate the synagogue’s remains at the corner of Norfolk and Broome Streets. According to a press release, “The new congregation space and cultural heritage center will be created and opened to public access, including community events and programming.” And as Curbed notes, artifacts salvaged from the synagogue will be on display in the lobby.

Curbed also tells us that the project received approval from Manhattan Community Board 3’s land use committee on Tuesday; the next step is a vote in front of the full Board on September 26th. After this, it will make its way to the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.

“CPC has a 54-year history of serving the Lower East Side community and, in partnership with Gotham and BHH, we have envisioned a well-rounded plan that will not only expand but also sustain our services for our neighborhood’s most vulnerable populations,” said Wayne Ho, CPC’s President and CEO. “Our hope is to create the foundation for a dynamic neighborhood that thrives well into the future.”



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