Muslim Leaders and Developers of 'Cordoba House' Community Center in Lower Manhattan Thank Supporters

Jun 04, 2010, 19:24 ET from Cordoba House

Muslim Leaders Express Appreciation for Endorsement of Community Board, Elected Officials, 9/11 Families, and Christian and Jewish Clergy

NEW YORK, June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Muslim leaders and the developers of the cultural and community center in Lower Manhattan currently known as "Cordoba House" have expressed their gratitude for the support of Community Board 1 and the statements of local leaders who have endorsed the project.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a long-time New Yorker and leader of interfaith efforts, has spearheaded the effort to develop the center along with the owners of the real estate, Soho Properties, which is led by Chairman and CEO Sharif El-Gamal.

"Our hope is that by helping to revitalize downtown New York, this project will demonstrate to all Americans and to the rest of the world that the American Muslim community rejects the violence perpetrated on September 11 and wants to be a part of the healing and rebuilding process," said El-Gamal. "We will continue to engage the community about this project in order to resolve their questions and banish any misperceptions that may be out there."

Cordoba House is envisioned as a non-profit cultural and community center that will serve the Lower Manhattan neighborhood, the New York public, and visitors from around the world. Plans for the 13-story building located at 51 Park Place, just west of Church Street, include a wide range of amenities that will improve the quality of life in the neighborhood while respecting the sanctity of the surrounding area; these plans include: a Sept. 11 memorial and meditation room, cultural amenities including exhibitions, education programs, a 500-seat auditorium, a library and art studios, a Muslim prayer space, fitness facilities (a swimming pool, gym, and basketball court), a restaurant and culinary school, and childcare services.

Once open, the center is expected to create over 150 full-time and over 500 part-time jobs, in addition to many trade and construction jobs.

Many of New York's most prominent civic and faith leaders have endorsed the project, including: Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin, Financial District Chair Edward Sheffe, Congressman Jerry Nadler, New York City Comptroller John Liu, City Councilmember Margaret Chin, City Councilmember Robert Jackson, District Leader Paul Newell, District Director Robert Gottheim, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Canon Anne Malonee of Trinity Church, and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.

The 51 Park Place building and lot is owned by Soho Properties, a private real estate developer. The "Cordoba House" project is in the process of incorporating as a separate, non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that will be financed by a mix of equity, bonds, grants and contributions. A date has not yet been set for the opening of the center, although Soho hopes to begin the renovation before the end of 2011.

SOURCE Cordoba House