El-Gamal reverses, plans museum for “Ground Zero mosque”

Developer drops proposal to construct Islamic community center at Park 51

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 dialed back his plans for the long-stalled Park51 development and instead will build a three-story museum.

Earlier this month, he filed plans to level two low-rise structures at the site, also known as the “Ground Zero mosque.” Architect Jean Nouvel was hired to design the 5,000-square-foot museum, which also contain a prayer space and community events. There will also be a public outdoor space.

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“New York’s arts and cultural institutions have always been a great inspiration to me and I consider this opportunity to create a museum to be a true privilege,” El-Gamal said in a statement cited by DNAinfo.

El-Gamal initial planned to build a larger Islamic community center on the site.  He decided to make the project smaller amid protests from residents and a lack of financial backing. The developer plans to fund the project himself. [DNAinfo]Mark Maurer