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Construction of $43 Million UWS Synagogue Back on Track

By Leslie Albrecht | April 6, 2011 1:45pm | Updated on April 7, 2011 7:31am

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

UPPER WEST SIDE — Construction has started again on Lincoln Square Synagogue's new shul, six months after a funding shortfall forced construction of the $43 million facility to stop.

Synagogue officials said in a statement that the project was back on track as of this week after recently raising $3 million. That's the amount of money an anonymous donor asked the synagogue to raise to match a $20 million gift the donor promised to Lincoln Square Synagogue in November.

The secret benefactor gave the synagogue until April 30 to raise the money, but members met the deadline early, synagogue officials said.

"This shul stood absolutely united during a time of uncertainty, and has participated with magnificent generosity to secure our future," said Senior Rabbi Shaul Robinson in a statement. "It is particularly heartening to see how many hundreds of people have participated in the campaign."

Construction on the new building is now expected to be complete by June 2012, a spokeswoman said.

Lincoln Square Synagogue halted work in October on its new building on Amsterdam Avenue and West 68th Street because it didn't have enough money to cover ballooning construction costs.

The new building — which officials say is the first new synagogue to be built in Manhattan in 50 years — will feature an environmentally-friendly design and a 5,000-square foot glass facade.

The structure was initially expected to cost roughly $19 million, but costs skyrocketed and the synagogue announced last fall it needed another $15 to $20 million to complete the project.

The synagogue started a fundraising campaign and collected $7 million, but that wasn't enough to keep construction going. That's when the anonymous donor stepped in.

Lincoln Square Synagogue, which started in a Lincoln Towers living room in 1964, was in the news last year when Upper West Sider Elena Kagan became a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Kagan attended the synagogue and was the first girl to celebrate a bat mitzah there. Prior to Kagan, the synagogue offered only bar mitzvahs, for boys.