Chabad change for landmark buildings is approved

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved unanimously a controversial proposal by Chabad of the Upper West Side to build a day school, synagogue and community center in two landmark rowhouses on West 86th Street, according to the West Side Independent.

Rowhouses at 43-45 W. 86th St., Manhattan.

Rowhouses at 43-45 W. 86th St., Manhattan.

The proposal, which was voted down by Community Board 7, allows Chabad to build a roof and rear yard addition to the building as well as perform other renovations. It also means that the renters who live in the buildings now will have to move out.

Those renters and neighbors complained that the new construction would change the neighborhood too drastically.

But Chabad of the Upper West Side Associate Director Rabbi Meir Ossey told Lubavitch.com that “the renovations will preserve the buildings’ historic appearance and will also restore original architectural details that have been lost over the decades.”

The commission originally asked the organization to change the proposal, in part because it involved elevating the floor heights, an idea that they found unacceptable.

Chabad’s updated proposal “called for keeping the floor heights/plates the same, reducing the height of the rear addition so that the cornice is the same height as neighboring buildings — you can’t see the play terrace or the fence — and bringing the addition back from the lot line by three feet,” Commission spokeswoman Lisa de Bourbon wrote in an email.

The project won’t likely be completed until 2013.

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