Conceptual sketches of the Islamic center planned two blocks from ground zero envision a futuristic-looking building wrapped in a honeycomb of abstract shapes, with a core containing far more space for secular pursuits than religious worship.
The renderings, some of which were posted on the project’s website this week, are preliminary, but they project the development team’s desire to build something cosmopolitan and fun on a site now known only for controversy.
‘I don’t think that once this thing gets built, anyone will be picketing,’ said Sharif El-Gamal, the project’s developer.
Groundbreaking for construction is probably two to three years away, ‘or hopefully sooner,’ El-Gamal told The Associated Press.
The largest part of the building — four of 16 floors — would be taken up by a sports, fitness and swimming center. Another full floor would be occupied by a child care center and playground.
Much of the rest of the building would be occupied by a restaurant, culinary school, artist studios, exhibition space and an auditorium for cultural events.
El-Gamal said the idea was to build a facility that will attract neighborhood residents looking for a place to work out, as well as suburban Muslim couples spending ‘date night’ in the city.