camp merockdim

Gabe Alexander In Contract To Buy Camp Merockdim (former Camp Champion)

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Developer Has Not Signaled Intent For Land Purchase

By Tina Traster

Rockland County developer Gabe (Gavriel) Alexander is under contract to buy a 9-acre parcel in New City that houses Camp Merockdim, an Orthodox Jewish day camp. Alexander has filed a memorandum of executory contract with the Clerk of Rockland to purchase the land from RW 175 Realty LLC in Pomona.

The memorandum secures Alexander’s right to purchase the parcel at 175 West Clarkstown Road through Oct. 4th, 2021, with a one-time one-month extension.

To date, Alexander has not filed any plans with the Town of Clarkstown’s Zoning Board of Appeals or Planning Board.

Alexander was the developer for Pavion, a market-rate rental housing complex in Nyack. Alexander Property Holdings also bought the Spring Valley Marketplace for $59.3 million. The shopping center has allocated nearly 100,000 square feet to house a Bingo Wholesale, a kosher superstore that is a joint venture between the Brooklyn-based Marav USA and Osher Ad, a grocery chain with 20 stores in Israel.

Sources say Alexander was one of two developers who had been eyeing a purchase of Nyack College to redevelop the campus for market-rate housing. Alexander was said to be working with another Rockland developer, Berel Karniol, at the time.

Nyack College was sold last December to Yeshivath Viznitz D K Hal Torath Chaim Inc., a Hasidic congregation for $45.5 million.

In 2017, Karniol partnered with developer Alexander to build The Vue, a multifamily property in Hackensack, NJ.

It is unclear what Alexander will do with the site if the purchase goes through. The 9-acre parcel, located close to the Ramapo border, is zoned R-22, or single-family houses on half acre parcels. If the developer were to build housing without seeking a permit or zone change, he would be able to build about 15 to 17 houses, according to Town Planner Joe Simoes.

A multi-family housing project would require a zoning amendment, though senior housing would only require a special permit.

Camp Merockdim is owned by Effy Weissmandl, who said he was not sure whether the camp will be operating due to COVID. The land belongs to RW 175 Realty LLC, of which Dov Rakower is managing member.

Rakower did not return calls seeking comment.

In 1978, Judy and Sasha Bunchuk with their cousins Rita and John Saladucha who were then living in Demarest, NJ bought Funland Day Camp. LeCamp Day Camp initially began as a health food camp, serving tofu dogs and carob chips. There were calisthenics in the morning complete with an obstacle course that include tire and rope challenges, nature trails thru the woods, along with all the sports, arts, and special events.

In the mid-80s, LeCamp added Champion All-Sports Academy at Lecamp. The LeCamp name was changed in 1995 to Champion Day Camp.

The property was sold to RW 175 Realty LLC in December of 2016 for $2,650,000.

Effy and Dina Weissmandl, operators of Camp Merockdim have spent most of their adult lives working in the world of children’s summer camps.

Camp Merockdim was previously located at Ramapo College, in Ramsey NJ.