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Developer Scales Back Plans for Muslim Center Near Ground Zero
by Sharon Otterman
The developer whose proposal to build a Muslim community center and mosque near the World Trade Center failed amid a national controversy three years ago said Tuesday that he now plans to construct a museum devoted to Islam in the same location.
Sharif El-Gamal, the developer, said through a spokesman that instead of a $100 million, 15-story community center and prayer space, he now planned a smaller, three-story museum "dedicated to exploring the faith of Islam and its arts and culture." The building would also include a sanctuary for prayer services and community programs.
To make the plan more attractive to neighbors, he said in a statement, he had commissioned a French architect, Jean Nouvel, winner of the 2008 Pritzker Prize, to design the building at 45-51 Park Place, about two blocks from the former World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, and had included plans for a public green space.
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