New Plans for the Park51 Space

The New York Times reports that developer Sharif El-Gamal has dramatically downscaled his plans for 45-51 Park Place—he now intends to build a 5,000-square-foot, “three-story museum ‘dedicated to exploring the faith of Islam and its arts and culture.’ The building would also include a sanctuary for prayer services and community programs.” What’s more, architect Jean Nouvel has been hired to design it, and there will be a “public green space.”

(Oddly, the Times then went to an “anti-Muslim blog” called Jihad Watch for a quote; can you imagine the paper doing that for a Jewish community center? For a gay one?)

Anyway, given the history of the project, there remain doubts that it’ll ever happen. “When asked about financing, [spokesperson Hank] Sheinkopf said only that Mr. El-Gamal would initially finance the museum and sanctuary himself and that he hoped to find other benefactors.”

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