Har Sinai signs deal to sell land Day school buys property at 6300 Park Heights Ave.

January 22, 1996|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

Sealing a deal to resolve a year of negotiations, the historic Har Sinai congregation has signed a contract to sell its property at 6300 Park Heights Ave. to Maimonides Academy, the LTC congregation's president said.

The contract, signed Thursday, will allow Har Sinai to proceed with its plan to move to the Owings Mills area, said its president, Dr. Robert K. Brookland.

Leaders of Har Sinai, the nation's oldest continuously Reform Jewish congregation, have said the move is in response to the suburban exodus of many of its members. Most members who have joined Har Sinai in recent years live in the Reisterstown or Owings Mills areas or in Cockeysville and other communities farther east.

The contract to sell the Park Heights property to Maimonides Academy -- an Orthodox co-educational day school known to its members by the Hebrew name Yeshivat Rambam -- comes a year after the academy submitted an unsolicited, $4 million offer. A letter of understanding on the deal was signed last year.

"It's a done deal. It's not talk," Dr. Brookland said of the most recent development.

He said that the contract calls for Yeshivat Rambam to pay a $50,000 deposit within 10 days, then another $50,000 upon the completion of a feasibility study. Yeshivat Rambam then is to pay about $500,000 that Har Sinai will use toward closing the deal on a 13 1/2 -acre parcel in Worthington Valley and starting construction on offices and a school, Dr. Brookland said.

The closing of the deal on the Park Heights property is scheduled for June 1998, Dr. Brookland said. He said Har Sinai hopes to occupy offices and schools at its new home at Greenspring and Walnut avenues within three years of that closing. He said a sanctuary likely will be built there between 2007 and 2014.

Until then, both parties will share use of the Park Heights facility in what Dr. Brookland described as a unique relationship between Reform and Orthodox Jewish groups.

Har Sinai, established in 1842, has moved four times in its history. It acquired the Park Heights Avenue site in 1938, and the temple there was consecrated in 1959.

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