The backers of the Ground Zero mosque shot down a report Sunday that Saudi King Abdullah would move the controversial development to the closed St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village.The Rudin family real estate developers are currently in talks to buy the hospital property to turn it into housing with a medical component.
"No one has contacted me or my husband about it," said Daisy Khan, who has been an adviser on the project. She and her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, are affiliated with the planned construction of a $100 million Park Place prayer space and community center two blocks north of Ground Zero.
"I remain committed to the idea of the creation of a multifaith community center in lower Manhattan," the imam said.
The mosque isn't moving from its proposed Park Place site, a source close to mosque developer Sharif el-Gamal said.
It is interesting that no other major developers are interested in buying the St. Vincent's hospital properties other than the Rudin family. Adding additional prospective buyers would drive up the asking price though, so I wouldn't be surprised that the sellers are hinting at additional buyers so as to get an increase in bids for the properties.
Moreover, the proposed Saudi "plan" would be a more interesting use of the hospital properties, and would provide significant community benefits - including opening a hospital in a underserved area.