Sharif El-Gamal, developer of Park51, the project dubbed the “ground zero mosque,” has acquired the building next door to the controversial stalled project, DNAinfo reported.
With the purchase of 43 Park Place for $8 million in January, El-Gamal now controls three adjacent properties on the street. He owns 45-47 Park Place and leases 51 Park Place from ConEdison. The 45-47 and 51 parcels comprise the planned Park51 project.
The latest acquisition is a commercial building that houses a bar, a bakery and other businesses, DNAinfo said. So far, tenants are not impressed by their new landlord, El-Gamal’s Soho Properties. The elevator at 43 Park Place has allegedly been out of service for two weeks, with one woman with a broken foot forced to climb five flights of stairs to her office, the news website said.
The Park51 development has not begun construction on the planned 15 stories of glass-enclosed space, set to feature a cultural center, daycare facilities and a 9/11 memorial. A capoeira class has regularly used the former Burlington Coat Factory space — the only sign of cultural activity taking place there, DNAinfo said. [DNAinfo] –Guelda Voien