Sharif El-Gamal the Park51 developer contends that a Mosque will indeed be constructed on the site of two buildings, 45-47 and 49-51 Park Place, New York NY, as seen above. Sharif El-Gamal and Soho Properties are flush with $20 Million in cash and an ongoing appeal in New York State Supreme Court with Con-Ed, what lies ahead for the Park 51 project.
Sharif El-Gamal, the head of Soho Properties, first came forward in 2006 seeking to buy the empty building at 45-47 Park Place, said Melvin Pomerantz, whose family owned the property. Pomerantz said El-Gamal eventually raised $4.8 million cash for 45-47 Park Place and purchased that building. Sharif El- Gamal paid an extra $700,000 to take over the lease with Con Ed for the building next door at 49-51 Park Place. The lease expires in 2071. The two buildings were connected years ago and common walls were taken down and housed a Burlington Coat Factory store.
IT AIN'T OVER TILL IT'S OVER...July 2012 The San Francisco-based Walnut Hill Group has purchased Sharif El-Gamal’s 12-story Chelsea office building at 31 West 27th Street for $65 Million. Sharif El-Gamal, CEO of Soho Properties and the developer of the proposed Islamic cultural center, known as Park51, in Lower Manhattan, purchased the Chelsea building for $45.7 million (in cash) in October 2009. Sharif El-Gamal made about $20 Million on the transaction. A news report in February of this year said any Soho Properties’ profits would be used for the Park51 project, but El-Gamal said that was inaccurate, yeah right.
Sharif El-Gamal, chairman and CEO of the real estate investment group Soho Properties dropped $45.7 million on the property at 31 West 27th Street in 2009, which PropertyShark describes as a 12-story, 108,594-square-foot office building. “We just bought it for the income,” Mr. El-Gamal told The Observer, yeah right, he sold it in July 2012 for $65 Million and made a $20 Million cash profit.
NY POST...July 2012 Chalk one up for Con Edison in its battle over back rent with the mosque developer at 45-51 Park Place. The Post has learned that in June 2012, State Supreme Court Judge Richard Braun upheld the $10.35 million appraisal price obtained by the utility, which it used to calculate the rent (Sharif El-Gamal and Soho Properties have $20 Million in the bank).
Con Ed argues that it is owed $1.7 million in back rent and $47,437 a month in rent for the building that sits on its land. But Sharif El-Gamal, the Park51 Mosque developer, contends Con Ed’s math is bad and that it owes $881,519 in back rent and $25,875 a month going forward. Based on an interim decision by Judge Braun, Sharif El-Gamal has been making $25,000 payments each month and also posted an $881,000 bond to pay for past due amounts if he loses. Judge Braun also said El- Gamal does not have to increase the bond while litigation continues, it ain't over till it's over.
ONGOING CASE TITLE: 51 Park Place Lh LLC v. Con Ed Co.
The prior owner of 49-51 Park Place was leasing the building from Con Edison, who once operated a substation at the site. Soho Properties purchased the lease for $700,000 when they acquired the building next door. However by purchasing the lease, with an option to buy, Sharif El-Gamal, his photo above, and Soho Properties essentially “owns the building,” according to Con Ed spokesperson Mike Clendenin. “With that kind of a lease and that kind of situation, [they] basically do own it,” said Clendenin. Con Ed, in a statement said, “Consistent with the law and our core beliefs, we are in the process of selling a property…Under the terms of a 38-year-old lease, the current tenant of our property has rights to use, alter, demolish or renovate the building, as well as purchase the property. He has exercised his option to purchase the property at a price to be set by an independent appraiser… We are following our legal obligations under the lease.
Orrin Hatch, a Republican Senator from Utah, voiced support of the project on religious freedom grounds. Hatch is a Mormon and cited an instance where a neighborhood tried to prevent a Mormon temple from being built. Former US President Bill Clinton also supported Park51, after noting that many Muslims were also killed on September 11. He suggested that the developers could have avoided controversy if they dedicated the center to the Muslim victims of the attacks.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a U.S. Jewish civil rights group that had spoken out against anti-Muslim bigotry, denounced what it saw as bigoted attacks on the mosque. Its head opined that some of those who oppose the mosque are "bigots" (PAMELA GELLER), and that the plan's proponents may have every right to build the mosque at that location. The project's developer, Sharif El-Gamal, hopes that the new building can be completed within several years.
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota Fl at www.wbipi.com