Monday, August 7, 2017

Struggling to survive, congregations look to sell houses of worship

By Vivian Wang
The leaders of Shaare Zedek on the Upper West Side plan to sell the property to a developer for $34 million. The building would be replaced by a 14-story tower, with the synagogue owning and occupying the first three floors. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Time
Across the city, financially struggling religious congregations, facing dwindling attendance and shrinking donations, are looking for other sources of revenue. Increasingly they are turning to their most valuable asset: location, location, location (and, in some cases, the air above it). The state attorney general’s office, whose approval is required for all sales of religious properties in New York, received 165 sale petitions in 2016; so far in 2017, it has received 124. The number of petitions has been increasing in recent years, said Doug Cohen, a spokesman for the office. And in some places across the city, neighbors are cobbling together neighborhood associations and legal alliances to fight the proposed sales. [More]