Kushners pull out of plan to demolish and redevelop historic synagogue in East Village
Mega New Jersey developers the Kushner Companies have pulled out of a controversial plan tear down a century-old synagogue in the East Village and build residences in its place, Urbanite has learned.
The board of Congregation Mezritch Synagogue voted last month to give Kushner Companies the rights to demolish the stately structure on East 6th Street in a controversial move that left many involved with the sale feeling that they were excluded from the process.
The sale was slated to undergo review by the state attorney general.
Preservationists and neighborhood activists are holding a rally and news conference in front of the synagogue this afternoon to urge that the building be preserved.
Many were unsure what to make of todays news that the Kushners had pulled out.
It doesnt mean that the synagogue wont look to do this again, and then what will the ground rules be, said Joel Kaplan of the United Jewish Council of the East Side. If they are going to do things in a nontransparent way you never know whats going to happen.
As recent as yesterday, Brian Bursin, an attorney representing the board of the synagogue sung the praises of the Kushner Companies for striking a deal that would allow the congregation to continue to meet in the first two floors of what was supposed to be a six-floor residential rental development.
There were three years of discussions with developers, he said. We are actually the Davids in the battle with the Goliaths.
Requests for comment on what Anshei Meseritz plans to do now that the Kushner Company is no longer were not returned by Bursin or by the synagogues rabbi, Pesach Ackerman.
A demolition permit for the temple has already been filed with the citys Department of Buildings but has yet to be approved.
Its not only a beautiful building, its a critically important link to the history of the neighborhood and what was once the most important Jewish community in America, said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. We just want to see it saved.
-- David Freedlander