Downtown Detroit Synagogue to Undergo $ 4.5 Million Renovation


The colorfully windowed synagogue in the Capitol Park district of Detroit is in need of a major renovation.

The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue at 1445-1457 Griswold St. is targeted for an overhaul on each floor, including opening up the first floor facade, a new elevator, a rooftop terrace, staircase extensions up to the roof and other improvements, according to documents submitted to the Historic District Commission, which must approve the changes because the building is in the historic Capitol Park district.

Commission documents indicate that the 1930 building received its “exuberant rainbow of stained acrylic windows” in the mid-1960s after the synagogue purchased it but before it was designated as part of the neighborhood. 2012.

“This phrase, as much as the historic pre-war building itself, has become a local landmark,” the document says.

Vadim Avshalumov, chairman of the synagogue board, said windows will remain

“It’s a complete renovation with improvements from the basement to the roof,” Avshalumov said. “We go from that fortress-like brick on the ground floor which in many ways is unattractive, to glass.”

The building measures approximately 10,500 square feet, according to CoStar Group Inc., a real estate information service based in Washington, DC. It was initially occupied in 1930 by William Apel & Son Coal Inc., the company run by the son-in-law of its promoter, Joseph Lucking. Among its other tenants over the years was a women’s clothing store, beauty salon, doctor’s office and finishing school before the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue bought it.

The synagogue’s website says it almost hit a fundraising goal of $ 4.5 million for the project.

According to Avshalumov, the main funders were the William Davidson Foundation; the Jewish Fund; the D. Dan and Betty Kahn Foundation; the Gilbert Family Foundation; and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation.

Construction is expected to start in December and last for a year, Avshalumov said.

“We are the last stand-alone synagogue in the city of Detroit,” Rabbi Ariana Silverman said in a video posted on the synagogue’s website. “It’s a building that needs a lot of work. Judaism has evolved for thousands of years and we are at a point in Jewish history where we recognize that people want to connect with Judaism in multiple ways, including including the great Jewish organizations that are doing important work in our community and that will have a presence in our building. ”

The third and fourth floors would also serve as space for various Jewish organizations. These floors are currently unused, Avshalumov said.

Detroit-based Neumann / Smith Architecture and Detroit-based Sachse Construction are working on the project, as are Detroit-based Laavu and Proxy.


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