QUEENS — A Rego Park community center and synagogue serving hundreds of Bukharian Jews will get to stay at its location for the time being after a judge nixed efforts by the new landlord to evict it, according to court documents.
Judge Terrence O’Connor, of Queens Civil Court, dismissed the case on a paperwork technicality, giving the nearly three-decade old synagogue, which put millions into renovating its current space, a reprieve.
"I'm very happy about it," the group's rabbi, Nahum Kaziev, said about the court's decision Wednesday.
Jeffrey Bodoff, a lawyer representing the center, which has been at the historic former Art Deco Trylon Theatre on Queens Boulevard for more than a decade, said the ruling allows the group to remain there for now, despite the owner's attempts to nix the lease.
The conflict started shortly after the developer, Trylon LLC, purchased the 25,000-square-foot property located on a triangle-shaped lot between Queens Boulevard, 99th Street and 66th Avenue, in December 2012 for $9 million with plans to replace the structure with a residential building.
The property includes the former Trylon Theatre which houses Ohr Natan Synagogue and the Educational Center for New Americans, serving hundreds of Bukharian Jews from Rego Park and Forest Hills. Kaziev said that the group poured more than $2 million into a 4-year-long renovation of the theater.
The dispute escalated last fall, when the developer said that the center had stopped paying rent.
Rudolf Abramov of Trylon LLC said earlier this week that the center had not paid its rent for at least six months.
Kaziev said that he had sent a rental check twice to the owner. But he said each time, the checks had not been deposited. He said that when he sent the second check in November last year for $26,000, covering two months rent, he received a notice that it was sent too late and the developer “intends to move forward with the termination of its lease with Educational Center for New Americans, Inc.”
Abramov said his issue is with the rabbi, who he said he would like to see replaced, not with the synagogue. He insisted that he plans to allow the congregation to remain there0 despite his attempts to cancel the lease.
“It’s not my intention to get rid of the synagogue and people can continue to come in,” Abramov said earlier this week.
Abramov, reached on Thursday afternoon, said he could not comment on the court's decision, because he has not spoken to his lawyer.