The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has made a quick turnaround on the controversial site for a potential ground zero mosque, and will hold a vote on it this coming Tuesday, Aug. 3—during what will likely be a very calm public meeting.
The Commission held a hearing two weeks ago to discuss the potential landmark status of 45-47 Park Place, a five-story building, that stands as a prominent example of the store and loft structures that dominated the drygoods warehouse districts of the Lower Manhattan. (The Observer profiled the building earlier this month.)
While it’s not definite that the Commission will vote against a landmark designation, Mayor Bloomberg, who appoints the Commission’s members, has made his support for the mosque very clear. And though it attracted a lot of media attention and a rowdy crowd at the official hearing—moved to Hunter College to accomodate the masses—it’s not the architecture or historical significance that most care about.
But that’s exactly what the Commission will be voting on at 9:30 a.m. in the main theater of the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University.
The possible landmark status dates all the way back to 1989, when the Commission held public hearings to consider designation for Tribeca districts and individual sites. In March, the Commission met with the owners, who represent the Cordoba Initiative, to explain that the building is on the Commission’s calendar, and cannot be designated or removed without a public hearing and vote.
The owners plan to build a mosque and Muslim community center, but the proposal has stirred quite a bit of controversy with the families of 9/11 victims, and politicians vying for office, too.