We have just heard back from the Landmarks Preservation Commission after asking some questions this morning about the fate of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol.
Following last night’s devastating fire at 60 Norfolk St., officials from several agencies were on site today to conduct investigations. LPC spokesperson Sonia Edghill tells us that representatives of the commission met on the Lower East Side today with the property owner and officials with the Department of Buildings (DOB).
DOB and the Fire Department are conducting separate investigations. The owner’s engineer was also expected to inspect what’s left of the building today. A decision on its status as a city landmark has not yet been made, although the outcome seems fairly obvious judging from the gaping hole in the center of the building.
Last night, Rabbi Mendel Greenbaum told us he was previously scheduled to meet with LPC officials this week about a restoration and redevelopment plan for the site. It was to be a collaboration between the synagogue and the Chinese American Planning Council, which owns a parcel behind the synagogue.
Edghill confirmed this, saying, “The meeting on Wednesday was to discuss the restoration and redevelopment of the property in connection with a development with the adjacent building owner, the Chinese American Planning Council and the developer Gotham.” She added, “LPC staff has been meeting with the Synagogue for a number of years to help in addressing maintenance issues and to identify and explore ways to achieve restoration and redevelopment of the property.”
The Gotham Organization is probably best known for the large residential and commercial project, Gotham West, on 11th Avenue. It was one of many developers responding to an RFP for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area a few years ago (the firm did not win the contract). You can read more about the company here.