El-Gamal files to raze buildings at “Ground Zero mosque” site

Soho Properties' chief executive has yet to announce new plans

From left: Sharif El-Gamal and 45 and 51 Park Place
From left: Sharif El-Gamal and 45 and 51 Park Place

Developer Sharif El-Gamal has filed plans to level two low-rise structures at the site of the long-stalled Park51 development, described by critics as the “Ground Zero mosque.”

The developer and his firm, Soho Properties, courted controversy in 2010 after proposing a 15-story Islamic cultural center in place of the five-story 45 Park Place and four-story 51 Park Place. Located in the Financial District, the properties are situated two blocks from the site of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.

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The plans to demolish the buildings were filed with the Department of Buildings today, the New York Observer reported.

The buildings already house a nonprofit Islamic community and prayer center, and El-Gamal charges $30,000 in rent for the space. Last year brokers told The Real Deal that the developer had been inquiring about how to price units should he choose to build condominiums at the site.

Previous plans called for a mixed-use development with residences on upper floors and a prayer space on lower floors, as previously reported. A spokesman for the firm said specific plans for the site would be announced at a later date. [NYO] Angela Hunt