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Jewish campus center to redevelop into student housing

Mizzou Hillel, the Jewish center on the University of Missouri’s campus, has teamed up with Trittenbach Development to redevelop the aging center.

Hillel Executive Director, Jeanne Snodgrass said the board of the nonprofit Mizzou Hillel decided a few years ago that the aging building needed improvements.

“It was built in 1969. Some repairs weren’t taken care of right when they should have,” she said. “Things aren’t in the best shape.”

The building was originally the city’s synagogue, which got its own space after a few years.

“They did a hasty renovation to split the synagogue, but it’s not ideal for the programming we do,” said Snodgrass.

Snodgrass said something had to be done to better fit the needs of the Jewish students on campus, and the board formed a committee to discuss options.

“There were a lot of different options. We talked about pros and cons for if we just tried to do a big capital campaign to raise money to build our own space,” she said. “Could there just be other retail space on the ground level with us? Would there be things above us?”

Snodgrass said it was important to the board that they kept the property because they felt it had meaning to the community.

They didn’t set out build apartments, she said, but the committee teamed up with a local developer after deciding to go with the option that would save money in the long run and would be an appropriate use of the space.

Students over the years had expressed interest in living in the area. Snodgrass said it was a natural thing to build apartments above a new space.

She said they reached out to several developers about two years ago but Trittenbach “were the ones that responded the fastest and were the most interested.”

That’s when they started a longer discussion about how they didn’t have the budget to build a new building alone as well as how the board wasn’t really adept the construction aspect.

“We’re not in the business of managing apartments or building buildings,” she said. “It made sense for us to be working with someone who does those things and does them well.”

According to documents submitted to city planning, Hillel Council Inc. has asked to rezone the property from R-3 zoning to C-P (planned commercial).

The documents indicate that “the proposed use for the property is one six-story mixed-use building.”

The first floor will be a space for Mizzou Hillel. Snodgrass said they’ll have a lounge space and two kosher kitchens, something she said is important for the organization.

The rest of the floors will be apartments with 70 units and 275 beds.

The documents propose no setback or parking requirements.

“We really think that it’s different from the other projects that are happening,” said Snodgrass. “We’re hopeful that it’ll be a chance for us to have a great new facility for students to have a really great option of someplace they can live where they can walk to class, downtown. They can be surrounded by campus and part of the community that’s here on campus.”

Trittenbach will manage the apartments while Mizzou Hillel will control the center on the ground floor.

“We found an agreement that works really well that gives us this new facility and gives us a chance to hold on to the land and to work with someone who has the expertise to make it all happen,” said Snodgrass.

ABC17 News is waiting to hear back from Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for Trittenbach Development, to get more details on when the project could begin.

Because “it is a C-P request to change current R-3, it requires full PZC and Council approval to proceed forward,” said Development Services Manager Pat Zenner.

The Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to review the proposal on May 5.

The city council could see the proposal on its agenda as early as June.

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