Judge blocks city’s Tobacco Warehouse plans

April 11, 2011 09:31AM

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the city’s plan to turn over Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Tobacco Warehouse to private developers, siding with preservationists who had argued that state officials illegally rezoned the 19th-century site in order to remove it from protection as federally protected parkland. According to the New York Times, Judge Eric Vitaliano handed down his decision this past Friday, ordering that the Tobacco Warehouse as well as the Empire Stores structures be returned to federal protection as part of Empire Fulton Ferry State Park. The city, which argued that the sites were only originally included in the park by mistake, had already approved a proposal to allow the St. Ann’s Warehouse theater troupe to take over the vacant Tobacco Warehouse site and turn it into a $15 million community and performance center. The city was supposed to begin accepting proposals for the future of the Empire Stores building this spring. An attorney for the city said the defendants “look forward to presenting our full case to the court,” and intend to press ahead with plans for the two sites. [NYT]

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