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Former Mosque on 116th St. to Be Demolished After Two Years of Delays

By Gustavo Solis | November 4, 2015 5:19pm
 Residents say a vacant building that has been abandoned during lengthy construction delays has become an eyesore.
Eyesore on Frederick Douglass Boulevard
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HARLEM — A former mosque on 116th Street that has become an eyesore after the landlord evicted the congregation is set to be demolished after two years of delays.

The building at 2136 Frederick Douglass Blvd. attracts rats, has a large hole in the roof, and has been deteriorating since the Fall of 2013, according to neighbors.

“It’s an eyesore, it’s really ugly,” local resident Florence Richardson said of the two-story brick building. “They really need to do something about it.”

The landlord, a company called 2136 Frederick Douglass LLC, filed demolition permits with the Department of Buildings in December 2013, about a month after evicting a Mosque for nonpayment of rent, according to reports.

However, the plan to convert the former Mosque into a residential tower has been delayed for years because of subway tracks that run underneath the building, according to a representative of the landlord.

Plans for the building have not been filed. The most recent permits have been for a scaffolding shed in front of the building, records show.

Records also show that the landlord has been fined $13,830 since June 2013 for violations like working without a permit and not keeping the building up to code.

Residents say the shed has made the building even uglier. The sheds have also raised safety concerns because they are not properly lit at night.

“I think it’s a safety issue, especially now that it gets dark at 5:30,” said Randi Klein. “The lights are there for show; they are not working.”

Although the building is vacant, it is not uninhabited. Scores of rats have moved into the building and are spreading to other parts of the neighborhood, according to Health Inspection records and neighbors.

When health inspectors visited former mosque as well as the building next to it in October, they found “active rat signs.” Every other building on the block passed their inspection last year, records show.

“You see those rat houses over there,” said Nichole Anthony, pointing at large rat traps in front of the building. “There are a bunch of rats around here. Not just in this building but throughout this area. They come at night.”

With MTA approval for the demolition expected to begin soon, the building will no longer be a abandoned, said the man representing the landlord.

“When a lot of people say it’s becoming an eyesore and things like that, it’s not our intention to leave the building in that condition,” he said. “This is our number one priority.”