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Forest Hills temple plan triples its size

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The Beth Gavriel Center for Bukharian Jews, one of 108th Street's temples, is growing to accommodate its expanding congregation and getting a new look.

The 1970 building at 66-35 108th St. has been hidden for months behind a construction fence where workers have torn up the concrete paving to make way for a larger, more comprehensive structure.

Calls to Beth Gavriel seeking comment about the construction were not returned.

Edward Weigert, an architect involved in the project at Manhattan-based DeArch LLC, called the revamping "a big undertaking" and said it has been in the works for about 1 1/2 years between amendments, changes and approval from the city Board of Standards and Appeals.

"We've had bids of between $5 million and $8 million" for the construction of the new temple building, he said. "It's a complete overhaul. On the left side, you'll see a box — that goes down 30 feet, with a gym."

The new structure is also to include offices, a mezzanine, a gym, a synagogue, classrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a ritual bath called a mikvah, Weigert said.

The new building is to be almost triple the size of the 6,682-square-foot original, Weigert said.

"It's about 28,000 square feet, not including the cellar," which does not figure into the square-footgage calculations, he said. "It goes to 43,000 square feet if you count below ground."

The congregation approached DeArch when the existing building began to feel a bit tight for the growing community, which hoped to grow larger in the future, Weigert said.

"They do want to increase the congregation, and want more people to come to their synagogue instead of any other," Weigert said. "Also, I believe they were saying their building was a little too small, so why not go all the way and prepare for the future?"

Posted 6:39 pm, October 10, 2011
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