Islamic center developer eyes revamp of Midtown synagogue

February 11, 2014 12:28PM

Sharif El-Gamal, developer of Park51, is in contract to buy the Garment Center Synagogue in the hopes of tearing down and building a high-rise with a new synagogue, hotel and retail center.

El-Gamal teamed up with Murray Hill Properties to redevelop 205 West 40th Street near Seventh Avenue. The New School for Design is expected to officially sell off the site for $61.5 million by March.

The building would rise as high as 23 stories and hold a ground-floor synagogue, three retail floors and a 260-room hotel. The 83-year-old Garment Center Synagogue had a long-term lease for $1 per year, the New York Times reported. If the building were to be razed, the synagogue would have to find a short-term location for the year 2017, according to the lease.

The synagogue agreed late last week to vacate the premises in the next few months.

El-Gamal had planned to build an Islamic prayer and community center near Ground Zero, but amid opposition, the development fell through. [NYT]Mark Maurer