Judea West is for sale, and the West Hills Reform synagogue has already found an interested buyer.
“The property has been on the market for a number of months,” said Ellen Franklin, Temple Judea’s executive director.
“We’re in contract right now,” Franklin said.
The sale of the property is expected to close in about two years, and the proceeds will be used to fund a major reconstruction project at Temple Judea’s Tarzana campus.
Judea West was formed on July 1, 2000, following the merger of Temple Solael and Temple Judea. One of the main reasons behind the merger was space, which had been lacking at Judea’s Lindley Avenue location.
Temple Judea hopes to use the proceeds from the Judea West sale to offset the cost of a rebuilding project at its main campus. According to the proposed plan, Temple Judea would add an additional 34,000 square feet to its existing 39,000-square-foot Tarzana facility. The Judea West site features a 13,569-square-foot building.
The rebuilt Tarzana synagogue would include an underground parking area, in addition to its current street-level parking; a social hall, ancillary rooms and redesigned kitchen on its ground floor; and a new sanctuary, outdoor chapel and outdoor patio on its second floor, which would connect with its now-detached administrative and education building.
Franklin says the changes to the Tarzana campus are long overdue, adding that the Solael merger helped alleviate some of the problems with crowding, but not necessarily facilities.
“Our facilities were old and inadequate. Now they’re 10 years older and they’re even more inadequate,” she said.
A vote on Judea’s reconstruction by the full congregation is expected to take place on Oct. 11.
Franklin says that the buyer of the West Hills property is a nonprofit, but would not elaborate. And Jake Zacuto of Stone-Miller said he couldn’t discuss details of the sale with the press.
Temple Judea is expecting to remain at the Judea West site until about fall 2011. Afterward, Franklin says Judea will rent space in the West Hills area for midweek religious school classes.
As far as the fencing around Judea West this week, Franklin says it’s temporary.
“It’ll be gone by the weekend,” she said. “We’re erecting an awning for the front patio.”
Franklin says the fence and the for-sale listings have been fueling all sorts of speculation, with most implying that Temple Judea is in financial trouble.
She says the synagogue is fine.
“We’re alive and functional,” Franklin said. “This is a commitment to the deep vibrancy of Judea. We’re investing in it.”