The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the center of Judaism’s Conservative Movement, is selling part of its New York Campus to fund a new building project. The main JTS building is located at 3080 Broadway in Manhattan.
The move comes after the Conservative Movement’s United Synagogue announced that it would sell its Manhattan office building in order to raise badly needed fund to pay down debt. Both have been suffering since the start of the great recession.
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The school also owns two buildings which it uses as dormitories, the six story Goldsmith Hall, at 3060 Broadway, and five story Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall at 415 W. 120th St. The first is an old apartment building with 40 units currently used for both graduate and undergraduate housing. The second is an undergraduate dormitory which was once an apartment building. Both are being offered for sale.
The school is also looking to sell its 262, 000 square feet of unused air rights over its main campus. It will let a developer use the rights on its campus’ eastern end while keeping 100, 000 square feet of it to build a new dormitory for its students.
Located in Morningside Heights, the main JTS Campus is comprised of 4 buildings around a quad. It was completely renovated and had a new library building built after a devastating fire destroyed its old library more than 30 years ago.
Arnold Eisen, the seminary’s chancellor, told the Forward, “This is a major step forward for us. We’re investing in JTS’s future, we’re saying we believe we will be here for decades to come as a leading voice for the revitalization of North American Jewish life.”
“There have been some things that we wanted to do and [have] not been able to do because the facilities have held us back, ” Eisen said. “This is a chance to say, we are here, we are going to be a conversation center for many years to come. These halls are going to hum with conversations that are rooted in Torah and engaged with the issues of the contemporary world.”
The school also plans to expand it library. On that Chancellor Eisen said, “My dream is that you will know the minute you walk in the JTS door that the greatest collection of manuscripts and Judaica outside Israel is here. We have the library of the Jewish people, and we want to promote that to the broader community, both Jewish and not Jewish.”