The sales gallery for 45 Park Place, a 43-story condominium that will soon rise three blocks from the World Trade Center, is not unlike the galleries for other luxury condos in New York. Oversize photographs showcase the spectacular views that come with living in a 665-foot tower. The mock kitchen and bathroom offer a glimpse of the refined finishes one would expect in a building with a $41 million duplex penthouse.
But unlike other New York City condos, this one is something of a consolation prize for the developer, and one that is opening in a cooling luxury market. The tower replaces the developer’s 2010 plan to build a 15-story Islamic mosque and cultural center on this site, an idea that erupted into a national controversy and cable news network bonanza.
The mosque’s opponents — among them some families of 9/11 victims, politicians and conservative media pundits — balked at the notion of a mosque so close to the site of the largest attack by Islamic terrorists in the nation’s history. Critics called it the Ground Zero Mosque, the Victory Mosque and a “megamosque.”
Its name was Park51, and the project’s developer, Sharif El-Gamal, the founder of Soho Properties, compared it to the 92nd Street Y, a community gathering space where New Yorkers could go for swimming lessons and lectures.
But by 2011, Mr. El-Gamal bowed to public pressure, little of it local, and abandoned the idea for the cultural center.
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