After it opened in 1928, Temple Beth El had served for decades as a house of worship in Long Beach, only to turn into a bingo hall the a thrift shop as the congregation dwindled. The former synagogue at 270 Lindell Blvd. may be repurposed again if the Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals next week approves a proposal to subdivide the building’s property.
Follow Long Beach Patch on Facebook.
“We are currently in contract for the sale of the property,” Sami Schindelheim,
a realtor with Petrey Realty, said of the temple that is neither on a historic
registry nor zoned for commercial use.
If the proposal to subdivide the 60-by-100-foot lot is approved at the zoning board hearing at City Hall on Oct. 24, the buyers’ plan is to maintain the original building and repair and renovate its crumbling interior and exterior to bring them up to City of Long Beach code, Schindelheim noted.
couple are purchasing the property as a single-family dwelling where they plan
to reside,” she said. “The subdivision is to separate the parcel from the other
property that the temple owns on [West] Walnut Street.”
Temple Beth El built adjacent to the temple a separate building, at 570 W. Walnut St., in 1964. That building features a sanctuary, a commercial kitchen and a ballroom, which is used as a senior center for the nonprofit Jewish Association for Services for the Aged. The building also has Hebrew school classrooms that remain empty, according to a New York Times report in February 2012.
“In my opinion this
sale and the variance and zoning board approval will only enhance the area,”
Schindelheim said. “The building's interior, as well as exterior,
[have] fallen into major disrepair. It will not only beautify the area but also
give the City of Long Beach and Nassau County tax revenue that it hasn't
previously had since it was a tax-exempt property.”
While Schindelheim said she couldn’t reveal specifics about the sale of the property until after the closing, the synagogue was listed early last year at $350,000 as a single-family residence on the 60-by-100-foot lot, The New York Times reported in February 2012.
If the proposal is approved, Schindelheim said she would like HGTV to do a feature on the temple-turned-home. “The 25-foot ceilings and original detail are quite breathtaking,” she said. “With the new design plan, I'm sure it will be amazing.”
Fiegels, president of the temple’s board, didn’t respond to Patch’s request for
comment about the pending sale of the property.
Leo Schechter, a past president of Temple Beth El and a member of the board, told the Times that the Orthodox synagogue was full each Saturday for services during the mid-20th century, with membership above 400, but those numbers slowly but declined starting in 1970s. The temple was last used for religious services, bar mitzvahs and weddings during that decade, and has since been used as a bingo hall and a thrift shop, the latter run by the congregation’s sisterhood group. The temple’s board decided to sell the property about four years ago.
Across town, Congregation Beth Shalom was demolished two years ago to make way for the construction of three single-family homes on the property at the northwest corner of Roosevelt Boulevard at East Park Avenue.