Yet another in an ever-lengthening series of oddities and unanswered questions about this project. “Half-baked mosque: Developer owns only part of site,” by Isabel Vincent and Mellisa Klein in the New York Post, August 8 (thanks to all who sent this in):
Not so fast.
The developers of the controversial mosque proposed near Ground Zero own only half the site where they want to construct the $100 million building, The Post has learned.
One of the two buildings on Park Place is owned by Con Edison, even though Soho Properties told officials and the public that it owns the entire parcel. And any potential sale by Con Ed faces a review by the state Public Service Commission.
“We never heard anything about Con Ed whatsoever,” said a stunned Julie Menin, the chairwoman of Community Board 1, which passed a May resolution supporting the mosque.
Daisy Khan, one of the mosque’s organizers, told The Post last week that both buildings on Park Place are needed to house the worship and cultural center. But she claimed ignorance about the Con Ed ownership of 49-51 Park Place and referred questions to Soho Properties, which bought the building at 45-47 Park Place in 2009.
Rep. Peter King, who opposes the mosque, said the developers seemed to be “operating under false pretenses.”
“I wonder what else they are hiding,” said King (R-LI). “If we can’t have the full truth on this, what can we believe?”…
The Web site for the mosque and community-center project, now called Park 51, says it will be financed “with a mix of equity, financing and contributions.”
But just $200 in donations has come in so far, according to Ameena Meer, head of Muslims for Peace, the nonprofit accepting the contributions.
49-51 Park Place, owned by Con Edison, is being appraised for a possible sale to Soho Properties, the developer behind the controversial mosque. Sharif El-Gamal, the principal of Soho Properties, paid $700,000 to take over the 99-year lease in 2009.
Soho Properties spent $4.8 million to buy 45-47 Park Place in 2009. The building, which used to house a Burlington Coat Factory, had been on the market for years with a sale price that once reached $18 million.