Governor Has No Land For Land-Swap Mosque Solution

Paterson plan revealed as groundless

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Governor Paterson and Downtown Islamic Center Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.

    A plan floated by Governor Paterson to diffuse tensions over a proposal to put an Islamic community center near Ground Zero was at best not feasible or ill-considered.

    At worst, it was a sham.

    Simply put, the governor offered developers of the center an opportunity to swap the controversial site for State-owned property farther from the scene of the attacks.

    Problem: there is no New York State property within a mile of the current site on Park Place.

    Four weeks after NBCNewYork filed a Freedom of Information request for a list of all State-owned or controlled properties inside a 20-block radius, the New York Office of General Services (OGS) responded (see .pdf), "we have determined that there are no properties in the OGS portfolio that meet that criteria." 

    So the would-be site-swapping governor actually had nothing to trade when he made the offer. Islamic center developers rejected what turns out to be a non-offer-offer anyway.

    Also rejected recently: Donald Trump's proposal to buy the site for 25 percent above its previous purchase price -- in exchange for developers moving at least five blocks farther away from the World Trade Center site.

    That would have valued the Park Place property at about $6 million. The developers believe it's worth three times as much.

    Governor Paterson's spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request Monday for comment on the putative property swap with no property to swap.