Park51, the Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan termed the “Ground Zero Mosque,” may soon be demolished. Soho Properties, the real estate firm that owns the building, filed an application for demolition with New York City’s Department of Buildings this week, the New York Observer reports.
The building, located two blocks north of Ground Zero, opened in September 2011 amid fiery debate over whether an Islamic institution should be permitted to break ground so close to the site of the September 11 attacks. Rallies against the proposed center drew hundreds of angry protesters and various political leaders spoke out for or against Park51.
Courts rejected attempts to block the opening of the center, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as President Obama both backed the developer’s right to go forward with the project. The building’s developer, Sharif El-Gamal, has not commented on the impending demolition and future plans for the site are unknown.