Ground Zero Mosque Plans Might Be Derailed

Decades-old Landmark ruling may stop building from being torn down

By Katie Honan
|  Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010  |  Updated 4:03 PM EDT
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Ground Zero Mosque Plans Might Be Derailed

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Ground Zero

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The plan to build a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero may have hit a snag, due to an over 20-year pending landmark status.

The American Society for Muslim Advancement purchased the 152-year-old building at 45 Park Place last year for $4.8 million.  Their controversial plan to tear down the building and construct a 13-story mosque and community center has had many critics who feel it's disrespectful to those lost during the September 11th attacks. 

A 1989 decision by the Landmarks Commission to propose the landmark status of the building may now prevent the building from being razed and the $100 million mosque from being constructed.

The building is located on a site once owned by Columbia College, and is "a prominent example of the store and loft structures that dominated the drygoods warehouse districts of Lower Manhattan," said Elisabeth de Bourboun, the Landmarks Commission's Director of Communications.

It was was one of a handful in Tribeca that were proposed as individual landmarks and heard in the 1980s, but not designated, explained de Bourbon.

"These buildings were part of the community requests we received in the 1980s to designate the four Tribeca historic districts," she said. "The commission held a public hearing on a proposal to landmark the building in September 1989, and has taken no formal action since then."

The building was converted to a discount clothing store in the late 1960s, and was most recently leased to Burlington Coat Factory.

The Landmarks Commission plans to hold another public hearing in the future, although a date has not been scheduled.

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