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30-Story Residential Tower Planned Alongside Ruins of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol

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broome/suffolk streets

The Gotham Organization is set to go before Community Board 3’s land use committee tonight to unveil plans for a large new development project — built partially on the ruins of the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue at 50 Norfolk St.

The proposal includes two buildings, including a 30-story tower on Suffolk Street, right in the middle of the Essex Crossing mega-project. The new plan would add 488 residential units, retail and community space on sites currently owned by the synagogue and the Chinese American Planning Council. The project will cover 576,000 square feet, according to a document filed with CB3 in advance of tonight’s meeting.

The community board questionnaire reveals the following:

–The developers envision a “master-planned project” that would create an “intergenerational community.”

–They’re seeking to change the R-8 zoning on this particular block to R-9-1 and C2-5.


–On the synagogue site, there would be a 10-story senior building, including 88 apartments for low-income seniors. It is presumed that the developers would incorporate what remains of the synagogue, which was destroyed by an arson fire last May. Crews have been demolishing unstable portions of the landmark-protected structure for the past several weeks. The apartments would be available to seniors with annual household incomes between 30% and 60% of Area Median Income.

–On the current Suffolk Street parking lot owned by the Chinese American Planning Council (CPC), there would be a 30-story tower with 300 market rate apartments and 100 affordable units. The affordable units would be reserved for residents earning household annual incomes between 40% and 100% of Area Median Income. Market rate apartments would be offered in a range between $2150/month for studios and $7350 for 3-bedrooms.

–There would be 46,000 square feet for community facilities, including a headquarters for CPC’s social services and a new synagogue for Beth Hamedrash Hagadol. The two non-profit organizations would own these spaces.

–The developers are looking to participate in several subsidy schemes, including the 420-c and 421-a tax exemption programs.

As we reported yesterday, the mayor’s office is trying to argue that the affordable units in the new Norfolk Street project compensate the Lower East Side community for the loss of more than 200 nursing home beds at Rivington House. This project was in the works long before the city administration seized on it as a potential “Rivington House replacement.”

Tonight’s meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. at University Settlement, 184 Eldridge St.

One more interesting tidbit. The Gotham Organization was one of many developers which bid on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area Project, now known as Essex Crossing. The firm lost out, but the developer is now poised to claim a large chunk of real estate right in the middle of the former SPURA site. If this new project goes forward, the 30 story tower will be taller than any of the Essex Crossing buildings. In creating 488 new residential units, it would generate almost half the number of apartments being built in all of Essex Crossing.

60 Norfolk Development Questionairre by The Lo-Down on Scribd

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