Click here to view the full report. Below is the Executive Summary.

In early 2019, the Boards of Directors of both Or Chadash and Temple Emanu-El initiated discussion between representatives of each congregation (hereafter, “Ambassadors”) to discuss what a future state might look like under two Scenarios:

  1. Continue more of the same targeted collaboration (Religious School, etc.).
  2. Map out steps to a future merger with a description of risks to success and possible mitigations.

Eight “Task Forces” were formed to explore all aspects of the two Scenarios. This report represents the results of the “Real Estate/Fixed Assets/Facilities” Task Force. For convenience, we shortened to the Facilities Task Force.

Further, our Task Force believed that Scenario One, continued collaboration, would not require any changes to either the Or Chadash or Temple Emanu-El facilities. Our study and report were therefore confined to Scenario Two, merger of the two congregations.

For Scenario 2, our purpose was twofold: 1) present logical data regarding both facilities that would allow all congregation members to evaluate for themselves the three options (see below) available. And, 2) present details of recommended improvements and their costs for each of alternative.

The three alternatives studied were as follows:

  1. Expand the Or Chadash campus to accommodate an enlarged congregation and education base.
  2. Improve the Temple Emanu-El campus to correct for deferred maintenance and health & safety issues, and to provide aesthetic improvements that would result in an attractive ambiance which would encourage even more use of it.
  3. Sell both the Temple Emanu-El and Or Chadash properties, acquire a new vacant property, and build a brand-new place of worship.

Our method for accomplishing our task was to provide a detailed inventory of each campus’ facilities, provide a fact-based comparison, and finally, create a list comparing the results of our study. We highlighted the costs of each and the pros and cons.

Each sub-task was assigned to a member of the group.

The studies emphasized different elements of each of the three Scenarios.

  1. For Or Chadash, it was incorporate additions that would be required to make that campus equivalent to the capacity of Temple Emanu-El. It was realized that even with the proposed additions, Or Chadash would not be at the capacity of Temple Emanu-El.
  2. For Temple Emanu-El, it was to establish a priority for each improvement that we identified so that the costs of some items could be deferred. The Priority List was defined as follows:

Priority One: Items necessary to do immediately either because they were put deferred too long and represented a maintenance problem, health and safety items, or those that were felt to be highly desired enhancements.

Priority Two: Enhancements that were very desirable, but could be put off for a year or two and completed from operating funds

Priority Three: We called these “wish list” items that would be wonderful, but we just can’t do it in the next 3-5 years.

  1. Alternate C involved selling both facilities, and to truly understand this Alternate’s viability, we need to know what the value of each facility is, as is. We then needed to estimate the cost of a new campus. Though there is experience among the Facilities Task in real estate matters, our estimate of value for each campus was, at best, an educated guess. We used $1,400,000 for Or Chadash and $2,000,000 for Temple Emanu-El. We also believe that these values are optimistically high. This would not represent the net proceeds because there would be costs associated with the sale (commissions, surveys, reports, etc.). The total estimated net revenue would be $3,200,000. This amount is in the range of one-third the cost of a new facility that would duplicate Temple Emanu-El. We concluded that this Alternative was not feasible.