News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
January 28, 2021
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News + Views

Judge Smacks Bloomberg Plan

By Lisa M. Collins
This gorgeous old tea and coffee warehouse was first to be a mall, then a theater. Now, it's back under U.S. Park Service protection.
Photo by Joshua Kristal

The Bloomberg administration has gone through great lengths to develop Brooklyn’s waterfront, from Red Hook to Williamsburg, and to build Brooklyn Bridge Park. But a federal judge declared yesterday that when the  U.S. Parks Service essentially privatized two federal landmarks in Dumbo for development, at the urging of the city, things had gone too far.

Judge Eric Vitaliano of the federal court located in Cadman Plaza ruled July 12 that the U.S. Parks Service acted illegally by turning over Dumbo’s Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores–Civil War-era protected landmarks–to private developers. The Bloomberg administration, as part of its development plans for Brooklyn Bridge Park, had pressured the Parks Service to change the designation for the two properties and Fulton Ferry Landing park, according to the plaintiffs in the case.

The lawsuit to stop the city’s planned development was filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Preservation League of New York State.

Fulton Ferry Landing, the park and green space behind the two old shipping warehouses, has been under construction for months. Two Trees developers, which owns much of Dumbo, is sponsoring installation of the carousel.

Brooklyn Bridge Corporation (an extension of the city) was going to hand over the Tobacco Warehouse to St. Ann’s Warehouse theater company, as the current St. Ann’s building is slated for a large condo development by Two Trees.

Judge Vitaliano ordered the National Park Service to protect the Tobacco Warehouse and Empire Stores.

Read the full decision at the Brooklyn Heights Association blog:

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