Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah would like to downsize and that creates a significant opportunity in Wilmette.
Beth Hillel’s 4.8-acre property, which includes a 54,000-square-foot building on 3220 Big Tree Lane, is for sale, according to the congregation’s representation, SVN Chicago Commercial.
Michael Kahn, the congregation’s executive director, said that while Beth Hillel is still “active and vibrant,” the large building that was built 60 years ago is no longer necessary.
“The most important thing is the congregation is not closing. … We need a more right-sized building for our needs,” he said. “The facility was built over 60 years ago. What we need today is very different than what we needed then.”
Beth Hillel was founded in Wilmette in 1958, first using local schools for activity space. The organization purchased the land on Big Tree Lane, bordering Glenview Road and the Edens Expressway, in 1961. The current building opened two years later.
Kahn said at one point close to 1,000 families were part of Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah. That number is down to just above 300, which he called a healthy number.
“We are looking for a facility that would offer the same uses in a much smaller facility, between 12,000 to 15,000 square feet,” Kahn said.
He added that if the congregation moves locations it hopes to remain close; however, no decisions have been made for the organization or its land on Big Tree Lane.
The land is zoned for single-family residences, and Kahn said Beth Hillel is open to any ideas within zoning regulations.
“We’re all ears and willing to hear what others have to say,” he said. “We’re excited. This is a good thing for us. I’m looking forward to re-envisioning our home.”
No price is listed with the land’s real-estate listing online and it is “subject to offer.” The main building includes classrooms and multi-purpose spaces, as well as a main sanctuary, offices and gathering spaces. Aside from the 600-capacity building, the site includes 148 parking spaces and street parking, a playground, a garden and more.
SVN Chicago Commercial’s Wayne Caplan is managing the sale and called the availability a rarity.
“It’s not every day that a property of this size and high-quality location becomes available,” he said. “. … We expect there to be lots of interest both from developers and potential users of the existing building.”
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