Los Angeles — The ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement is famous for multitasking, with its religious services, schools and museums, but a new development in Los Angeles is taking Chabad in an unexpected direction: the commercial and residential real estate business.
Chabad of California is angling to build a massive, mixed-use development that would include a girl’s high school with its own dormitories, 32 residential condominiums, and seven retail shops, in the heart of the heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson neighborhood. The proposed complex — which is raising hackles amongst some neighborhood activists — would dwarf other existing buildings that line the pedestrian-friendly stretch of Pico Boulevard.
Hasidic sects are not new to the residential real estate business. The Satmars, for example, have long managed housing complexes in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. But Chabad has gotten into the act more recently.
The most glaring difference between the Satmar community — which has spread beyond the confines of Brooklyn and established itself in the Catskill village of Kiryas Joel — and Chabad is that Chabad is staking its claim within the urban confines.