Zichron Chaim Rendering.jpg

A rendering shows what a new Congregation Zichron Chaim in University Heights might look like. 

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan signed a development agreement Oct. 15 to allow for the building of a new synagogue for Congregation Zichron Chaim on the corner of Summerfield and South Green roads, about a half-mile from its current site.

The agreement, which is yet to be signed by Congregation Zichron Chaim, calls for the demolition of six homes prior to construction of the new building.

“I want to thank all involved in this project for working with city officials and council to build something truly beautiful,” Brennan said in an emailed statement to the Cleveland Jewish News Oct. 18. “This synagogue is an example of the type of development we wish to encourage. This is a project that builds community, builds upon a strong and vital congregation that has long outgrown its present accommodations. I am happy go give the Zichron Chaim project my full support.”

Rabbi Alexander Charlop, spiritual leader of Zichron Chaim, told the CJN June 9 after University Heights City Council approved the plans in nine separate votes June 7, this “gives a home to the mission of the synagogue and to all the people that pray in the synagogue,”

Charlop said the architecture of the new building – which will be traditional in design, but will use modern materials – coincides with the congregation’s focus.

Designed by Rise Architecture of Lakewood, N.J., the basement will contain a kitchen and a social hall, according to plans presented in June. The main floor will contain a library, sanctuary and rabbi’s study. The second floor will contain a women’s balcony and study room, called a beis medrash, according to the plan.

Construction is expected to take eight to 10 months.

The congregation has been meeting at Beatrice J. Stone Yavne High School in Beachwood for 15 years for Shabbos and holiday services as a result of outgrowing its current space. It uses the original building for weekday services and study.

The agreement sets out a one-year timeline for demolition and requires the developer to meet with neighboring property owners prior to demolition and prior to construction. Those meetings may be combined into a single meeting, according to the development agreement.

In addition, the city will hold an option to purchase the property if the construction is not finished within three years from the start of demolition or if the developer abandons the project.

Conditions on construction also include a traffic plan to install storm sewer and sanitary sewer connections, approval from Cleveland Water to provide water, a stormwater management plan, a plan for relocation of a fire hydrant off of South Green Road, a stormwater pollution prevention plan, and site details for pavement, curbs and related infrastructure.

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