Remember the 2010 "Ground Zero mosque" controversy, led by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich? Fueled by emotion and caught in a complex web of neighborhood territory, religious symbolism, and New York real estate, the $140 million, 15-story "Ground Zero mosque" was to house a community center, including a pool, fitness area, culinary school, and a Muslim prayer space for over 1,000 people.
The controversy got hot, although Mayor Michael Bloomberg put his full support behind it, and the project eventually fell through due to financing. However, The Real Deal reports that Sharif El-Gamal has gained full control after buying rights from Consolidated Edison.
Image via therealdeal.com
The plan is now to build a three-story Islam museum with a prayer space. The plot thickens, as Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel has been chosen. It is an appropriate pick, as his Arab Institute in Paris was met with public and critical acclaim.
Arab Institute. Image via Flickr user b00nj
Next door at 45 Park Place, El-Gamal is building a 39-story luxury condominium project, and it will be interesting to see if another controversy will form around the museum. Has enough time passed, given the status of construction of the WTC site? Is a museum less controversial than a community center?
100 11th Avenue by Ateliers Jean Nouvel