NEW YORK (1010 WINS/AP) – Only a month after its opening, the Park 51 Community Center is facing one of its first major hurdles.

Con Edison, which has been leasing the western half of the 51 Park Place building to the developer, is demanding $1.7 million from the developer after a new appraisal boosted rent to $47,000 a month from $2,700.

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“The tenant currently owes a significant amount of rent retroactive to August 2008,” Con Edison spokesperson Alan Drury said. “The lease for the property called for the tenants to pay this money.”

Park 51 insists the increased rent on the portion of the property that is owned by Con Ed would cripple their ability to eventually complete the Islamic center. In response, Park 51 is taking the matter to court to block Con Ed’s attempt to collect the back rent.

Drury said Con Edison sent the tenant a notice of failure to pay the outstanding rent.

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“Con Edison remains hopeful that it can reach an agreement with the tenant that is in the best interest with all parties,” Drury said.

In court papers, Park51 disputed the figure. The developer says Con Ed is using an incorrect formula to determine the rent and back payments owed. A spokesman declined to comment further when contacted via email.

A court date in connection to the dispute is scheduled for November.

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