The “Ground Zero Mosque” and community center has been a hot button topic as of late, but putting aside the heated debate on freedom of religion vs. sensitivity to victims’ families and other political issues, we were glad to hear that the developers are planning to go green. A report last week on the The Daily Beast by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, reveals that the developers of the Park51 cultural and community center intend to achieve LEED certification. As the architecture team has yet even to be named, details of the green building strategies have not been determined, but if the promise holds true, Park51 would become the first LEED-certified mosque in the US.

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Park51, which is the rebranded name for the Cordoba House, will be a $100 million, 13-story glass and steel Islamic cultural center and mosque located in Battery Park City two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The prayer center is currently being led and developed by Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf and Sharif El-Gamal, although Soho Properties currently owns the existing buildings. Park51 is envisioned as a community center and will include a 500-seat auditorium, recreation and fitness facilities, a restaurant and culinary school, exhibition space, a library, art studios, childcare services, a mosque, and a September 11th memorial.

Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf hopes the center will become “one of the most significant buildings in New York City.” He wants the design to evoke modernity, so it will not necessarily adopt a traditional mosque style. The Imam has cited the Cooper Union building in Astor place and the 7 World Trade Center building as inspiration for Park51, which would replace the old Burlington Coat Factory. Currently the site is being used as a temporary facility, and around 400 Muslims attend Friday services already.

Originally called the Cordoba House, Park51 was renamed to reflect the center’s commitment to the environment. As Abdul-Matin said, “The new name, Park51, invokes images of trees, creeks, and children playing. Parks are for the public. Parks are fun. Parks are green. And parks are not controversial.” El-Gamal has said he wanted the building to be energy-efficient and transparent, so it will most likely feature a glass façade.

+ Park51

Via The Daily Beast