State court denies city’s plan for Dumbo’s Tobacco Warehouse

December 14, 2011 10:16AM

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Rendering of the Tobacco Warehouse
A New York State judge delivered a big blow to the city’s plans for Brooklyn Bridge Park, Crain’s reported, by ruling Monday that the city could not take over Dumbo’s historic Tobacco Warehouse and use it for private development.

The city was hoping to acquire the Tobacco Warehouse from the National Parks Service and transform it into a theater and performance hall for St. Ann’s Warehouse. The city would then use the revenue generated by the project to fund Brooklyn Bridge Park’s estimated $16 million annual maintenance bill and preserve the historic warehouse.

The ruling affirmed a federal court’s decision earlier this year that said the city couldn’t take control of the site because “it violated New York’s public trust doctrine.” The city and the National Park Service broke federal law by removing the park designation from the site without following the lengthy, but mandatory, regulatory procedure, the ruling says. The agencies must endure that process if it wishes to push forward with the plan. The decision marks a victory for several local activist groups that sued the city in an effort to preserve the site as public park land.

Now, the city is searching for new ways to finance the costly maintenance of the new park, Crain’s said. Meanwhile, St. Ann’s recently signed a three-year lease at nearby 29 Jay Street for a temporary home. [Crain’s]