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Jewish Journal

Just           Down the Street

by Ruth Stroud

May 22, 1997 | 8:00 pm

The Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles is expected to make as its new home a modern six-story marble-and-glass building that's a few blocks east of its current headquarters.

The Federation is currently in negotiations to sublease, for three years, 112,000 square feet on the second floor of the structure at 5700 Wilshire Blvd., which is located in Museum Square, just east of Fairfax Avenue. The news was made public at the Federation's monthly Board of Directors meeting, at which directors voted unanimously to authorize the lease.

The move is necessary because of the extensive repairs needed to renovate the Federation's present quake-damaged quarters at 6505 Wilshire Blvd.

The 17-person Facilities Committee investigated approximately 30 buildings on the Westside as possible relocation sites, committee chair Earl Greinetz told the board members.

The facility at 5700 Wilshire, which includes about 50 offices and 200 office modules, is expected to house all of the Federation's various departments, beneficiary agencies, and affiliates currently housed at 6505, Greinetz said. Few improvements are projected, since the move is expected to be temporary.

"It's an extremely nice space and still very central," said Federation Executive Vice President John Fishel.

With everyone on the same floor instead of being spread out vertically over 10 floors, "the culture will change," said Federation President Herb Gelfand. "It will bring us closer. I think we'll be a real community."

The move is expected to occur by mid-October. There is little chance that the Federation and its agencies -- including 350 to 400 people -- will remain at the new site after three years. But whether they will move back into a refurbished 6505 or into new quarters has yet to be determined. Other options include razing the current headquarters and rebuilding; buying a different building on the Westside; or finding a site and raising an additional $20 million in funding to construct the campus similar to the Jewish Federation/Valley Alliance's Milken site in West Hills. The Milken campus has become a focal point of the Jewish community in the five-valley area served by the Valley Alliance.

"We are not a focal point out here," Gelfand said.

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