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Congregation Etz Chayim Paid $4.75 million for new home at 1155 Wilkes; Plan to be up and running with minimal renovations; possible expansion at later date

By Rhonda Spivak, Dec 1, 2022

Avrom Charach , President of Congregation Etz Chayim has indicated to the Winnipeg Jewish Review that the purchase price for Etz Chayim’s new home at 1155 Wilkes Ave was $4.75 million. The Khartoum Shriners , the vendors, listed the property for $4.8 million. Charach noted that “ the Shriners said they took our offer over others” and “are happy that the building will continue to be used as community meeting space,” as opposed to being torn down, for example.
The property is 12,000 sq feet, with no basement, but Charch disclosed that “there are potential plans to enlarge the space we use for ritual and social purposes…The conceptual drawings of the architects show how we can push back  the Western side of the building to make substantially more space. We have not finalized any potential expansion plans at this point.”
Charach stated that the area to be used as a sanctuary at the Wilkes location “is approximately the same size as the current sanctuary” at 123 Matheson Ave, but unlike the Matheson space, “there is no space for a separate social hall at this stage, which is why the expansion makes sense.” In the meantime if there was a Bar Mitzvah, for example, after the service people could wait in the hallway as the sanctuary seating (made up of chairs) is  changed into a social hall set up of chairs and tables and a food station.
”The architects also confirmed we  will be able to move in, with minimal renovations, such that it will be possible for us to be up and running  shortly after obtaining possession of the Wilkes location at the end of May 2023, so there is no interruption. This has been our goal all along,” Charach noted.
According to Charach, Congregation Etz Chayim is looking into bridge financing. “One financial institution has indicated it is interested in providing bridge financing  or longer term financing if necessary.
The pews from 123 Matheson Ave will be put in storage such that at one point they could be moved to the new location.
Charach also stated that the stained glass windows in the small chapel at 123 Matheson Ave possibly will come over to the new Wilkes location, although that is not for certain at this point. “We do have an idea of how to incorporate them into the Wilkes building ,” Charach noted.
Additionally, Charach indicated that “We plan on running a capital campaign,” the details of which will be finalized in the coming months.
There were 60-70 members who attended Etz Chayim’s AGM on Nov 22 and the town hall meeting about the upcoming move following it. There were also 90 membership units who participated online, and were given the ability to ask questions via the chat function. “We made sure to answer the questions that people typed in the chat,” Charach said.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.