‘Ground Zero Mosque’ To Become Luxury Skyscraper?

Williams New York

It’s been a while since we last heard of plans to develop the significant site near Ground Zero. After the proposal of the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ sparked controversy five years ago, the plans for development have remained a mystery. It has now been revealed that in its place will be new luxury condominiums.

The last comment from developer Sharif El-Gamal explained that he planned to create a three-story museum “dedicated to exploring the faith of Islam and its arts and culture.” This being after he proposed the $100 million, 13-story Islamic community center and prayer space dubbed “Park 51.” This initial plan was vetoed in 2011 after it became a focus point for conservative and anti-Muslim groups, as well as families and victims of the 9/11 attacks.

According to Bloomberg Business, El-Gamal’s Soho Properties have proposed a 667-foot condominium tower at 45 Park Place; instead of the community center, it will include “at least 15 full-floor units of 3,200 to 3,700 square feet (297 to 344 square meters), and average prices higher than $3,000 a square foot.”

El-Gamal told Bloomberg “The tower is going to be a market-maker. We’ve perfected a building that’s really going to share in a unique moment.”

Although the site will no longer pay tribute to the significance of 9/11 on its victims and Muslim communities, El-Gamal still plans to incorporate the three-story museum dedicated to revealing the true faith of Islam and the culture surrounding it. Famed architect Jean Nouvel will be spearheading the project, which will be connected to the luxury condominium via a public plaza. Soho Properties made this tribute possible through their acquisition of three plots on Park Place next to the initial site.

El-Gamal added, “Every day that we’ve been waiting, the market has been getting stronger and showing incredible signs of resilience. The appreciation and absorption this market is showing is unprecedented.”

While the plans have yet to be approved by the state attorney general’s office, the developer hopes to begin building before the end of the year.

Getty Images / Mario Tama