‘MyYeshiva’ reaches agreement with Baptist group to refinance purchase of its building in Cottage Grove
By ERIN ELLIOTT BRYAN /Â Community News Editor
After months of uncertainty and an outpouring of financial support from across the country, Yeshiva High School of the Twin Cities has reached a financing agreement with the owner of its Cottage Grove campus and will remain open.
According to a press release, the school is now accepting applications for the fall 2010 semester.
“It has been like putting together a 5,000-piece puzzle without the picture on the box,” the school’s director, Rabbi Moshe Weiss, said in a statement e-mailed to the AJW. “Although we could not see the final picture, we stayed the course and with faith, love and support we are now beginning to see the pieces come together and the picture is wondrous.”
Known simply as MyYeshiva, the Orthodox Jewish boarding school for boys is housed in what was once the Eagle Grove Baptist Church. MyYeshiva purchased the building on a contract for deed from the Minnesota Baptist Conference (MBC), but last year MBC decided to cash out the deal. MBC worked with MyYeshiva to negotiate a new contract with a significantly lower principal amount (12-25-09 AJW).
MBC gave MyYeshiva a Feb. 1 deadline to raise the $660,000 to purchase the building. After the school raised more than $100,000, the council agreed to extend the deadline to May 15 (4-16-10 AJW).
One week after that deadline, MyYeshiva had raised more than $470,000 in donations and one- to five-year pledges, and sought to use those monies to secure a bank loan for the entire purchase price.
The bulk of donations came from the school’s neighbors in Cottage Grove, according to Weiss.
“Unexpectedly, and at the last moment, the bank withdrew their offer of financing, citing more stringent regulations as a reason for not moving forward,” said Weiss, during an interview at the AJW offices today. “To say the least, we were shocked.”
MyYeshiva approached four other financial institutions — including one referred by MBC — and received the same response.
“We were just spending more time that we didn’t have,” Weiss remarked. “It came to, either this is going to go forward or it’s not. So we went back to MBC.”
Relying on the pledges as proof and promise of repayment, MBC agreed to finance the purchase. The terms will include a cash down payment of $65,000 at closing, a set monthly mortgage payment and principal reduction payments due as pledges are fulfilled and collected throughout the year.
MyYeshiva plans to close the deal on July 19. The school will most likely enter into a new contract-for-deed agreement in which it will be legal owner of the building and MBC will be the mortgage holder.
“It’s difficult while you’re walking along the way to recognize that every single thing that happens is necessary to bring you to the ultimate destination,” Weiss said. “And it just takes constant reminders to yourself, and recognition and faith in God, that everything that is happening is for a good purpose at the end.”
MyYeshiva has received several requests for applications and is moving forward with its plans for the upcoming school year. It will continue to raise the additional $100,000 still needed toward the capital campaign and increase its overall fundraising efforts. Weiss said this challenge “reaffirms their responsibility” to be sustainable in the future.
“Everybody’s really very thrilled… relieved, excited,” Weiss said. “We have work ahead of us, thank God… and we have the support behind us to get it done. It’s really quite amazing.”
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