The Orthodox community in Borough Park is one of the city’s fastest growing groups, and they’re building plenty of schools to educate their children. Today, YIMBY has the first look at one of these schools – the new headquarters for United Talmudical Academy at 123 Clara Street, on the corner of 36th Street.
Zambrano Architectural Design is responsible for the building, which will have a functional and fairly conservative brick facade. The five-story structure will feature a synagogue on the first floor, a mix of offices and classrooms on the upper stories, and a play area and “multipurpose room” on the top floor. There will also be a kitchen and dining room in the cellar and roof decks on the fourth and fifth floors. The main part of the building will have five stories, but a sixth, partially setback floor will add extra recreational and roof space.
Generally, new buildings there can’t reach more than four stories. However, the all-boys religious school secured a variance to build taller back in 2002, which is when it first filed permits. Then the school struggled to finance construction, and work didn’t begin until 2013. That year, the city agreed to extend the zoning variance to 2017, to prevent the new zoning from expiring before construction finishes.
The 13,500-square-foot property was once home to a dilapidated row of auto shops, and the wrecking ball finally came for them in 2007. The school acquired the lot from a car sales company for an undisclosed amount back in 2000.
The United Talmudical Academy currently occupies a lovely pre-war school building at 5301 14th Avenue, roughly a mile and a half south of its future home.
Borough Park probably needs even more schools. Nearly half of the households in the neighborhood – 48 percent – have children under the age of 18, according to 2013 numbers from the American Community Survey.