St. Ann’s artistic director lashes out at ‘callous’ preservation groups

July 19, 2011 09:44AM

In an email sent out to the theater’s mailing list, St. Ann’s Warehouse artistic director Susan Feldman thanked everyone for support during what she called the “Tobacco Warehouse saga,” Brooklyn Heights blog reported. She said that the theater troupe will be departing Dumbo but exploring options elsewhere, blaming the “callousness” of the surrounding neighborhood and preservation groups such as the Brooklyn Heights Association.

In April, a federal judge blocked the city’s plan to turn over Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Tobacco Warehouse to private developers, siding with preservationists who argued that it was part of protected land. The judge ordered the Tobacco Warehouse, already promised to St. Ann’s by the city for its $15 million new performance center home, returned to federal protection as part of Empire Fulton Ferry State Park.

Feldman noted: “Despite what the plaintiffs in the case, led by the Brooklyn Heights Association and New York Landmarks Conservancy, might have us believe, there are no winners with this legal decision.  In fact, everybody loses — New York City, the public, St. Ann’s, and the fragile buildings with their uncertain future. We are grateful that the judge’s ruling did not preclude an alternative process for converting the structures, and we believe conversion will eventually prevail (despite the sad fact that a second lawsuit filed by the BHA still threatens restoration and adaptive reuse of the two historic structures).”

Feldman concluded the update on a more positive note, expressing excitement for St Ann’s Warehouse’s 2011-2012 season. [Brooklyn Heights blog]