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Assafa Islamic Center at 172 Eldridge Back on Track
The beleaguered Assafa Islamic Center at 172 Eldridge Street is apparently back on track after a series of derailments. Since summer 2009, progress at the new masjid (or lack thereof) has been spotty at best. Indeed, here we are three years later, and the structure remains a quasi-built pile of bricks having just reached its proposed six-story height. Additional construction materials (e.g. scaffold, netting) arrived onsite within the last few weeks, and exterior masonry now carries more definition.
Blame the start-stop pace on a lack of funding. As we initially reported in October 2009, the fourteen-year-old Lower East Side house of worship activated an urgent community appeal to collect donations for project completion. There must’ve been a cash injection of some sort, since construction has begun anew. Though not without its hiccups. Despite the resumption of activity at 172 Eldridge, the official website continues to solicit money for completion and provides the following progress report:
The structure of the sixth floor is completed and the roof of the sixth floor is done already. Main water, sewage, electric and gas lines have been connected to the building. The electrical wiring and the sprinkler system is being installed. 95% of the interior framing and HVAC system is finished while 95% of the ducting is completed. The plumbing of the bathrooms and wudhu area is under construction. The doors and windows are being installed as well as the elevator. The stonework of the façade and the brickwork of the rear wall will be finished soon
A stop work order was levied by the DOB in early April for hazardous demolition practice, but was partially rescinded a week later. Until the new facility is completed, the Assafa Islamic Center will continue to function normally in its underground prayer room at 172 Allen Street. The new above-ground location plans to offer plenty of space for prayer and classes. However, the goal won’t be realized anytime soon. Given this start-stop snail pace, a completion date seems somewhere distant on the ever-elusive horizon.
Floor plans are as follows:
Basement: multi-purpose usage
First Floor: main prayer area, offices, gift shop
Second Floor: men’s prayer area and bathroom
Third Floor: women’s prayer area
Fourth and Fifth Floors: NYS Board of Education compliant Islamic school
Sixth Floor: housing facility, research library, conference room