Park51 Developer to Tear Down Islamic Center Buildings

By Irene Plagianos on April 8, 2014 4:09pm 

 Sharif El-Gamal, developer of Park51, plans to demolish the TriBeCa buildings where the center held programs.
Sharif El-Gamal, developer of Park51, plans to demolish the TriBeCa buildings where the center held programs.
View Full Caption
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, Pool

TRIBECA — The developer behind Islamic community center Park51 plans to demolish the two TriBeca buildings that housed the center and prayer space, according to documents filed with the Department of Buildings.

Soho Properties, owned by Sharif El-Gamal, filed applications with the DOB to tear down the five-story 45 Park Place and adjacent four-story 51 Park Place on April 7, the Commercial Observer first reported.

The controversial Park51 officially opened in September 2011 with a photo exhibit of children from around the world, but since then, there’s been little progress in building a larger, permanent center at the site. The developer had once envisioned a 15-story glass building on Park Place, but construction never moved forward.

The space, which held daily prayer services, currently has no events scheduled on its website. A director of development with Park51 declined to comment on programming, aside from saying the organization was holding an interfaith peace Seder at Park Avenue Church on April 16 in conjunction with other religious organizations.

In an email, a spokesman for Soho Properties, Brad Groznik, said “plans will be announced at a later date” for the site.

In 2010, some preservationists and opponents of the Park51 project pushed the city to landmark 45 Park Place, which was heavily damaged on 9/11. The Landmarks Preservation Commission decided the building was not worth protecting, clearing the way for it to now be demolished.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement