Soho Properties CEO Sharif El-Gamal, rendering of Park51 community center, and 45 Park Place (building credit: PropertyShark)
Con Edison has ordered Soho Properties CEO Sharif El-Gamal and Park51 developers to pay $1.7 million owed in back rent, the New York Post reported, and threatened to evict the team behind the controversial ‘Ground Zero mosque.’
Con Ed owns a former substation on the western half of the Lower Manhattan property where the developers want to build a community center and rent it out to Park51. Park51 paid $700,000 to lease the substation in 2009, which had a rental rate, set in 1972, of $2,750 per month. But in August, the utility raised the rent, retroactive to July 2008, to $47,437 per month.
Con Ed said it would kick out the developers if they didn’t pay the $1.7 million it owed by Oct. 4, but Park51 principals sued Con Ed to stop the increase and got a temporary court order to prevent eviction. They claim they owe Con Ed just $881,519 and that their monthly rent should be $25,875 going forward.
The disagreement makes it difficult for Park51 to eventually buy the building from ConEd, El-Gamal said, as they originally intended. The developers want to own the building so they can knock it down, along with 45 Park Place next door, and build a $100 million, 15-story Islamic community center. [Post]