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Judge nixes Willets suit

By Sarina Trangle

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez dismissed a lawsuit seeking to annul the city’s Willets Point West project last Friday.

In bringing the suit, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and parks advocacy groups argued plans for a shopping mall and movie theater on the northern corner of Flushing Meadows Corona Park would require approval of the state Legislature, since it would turn parkland over for non-recreational uses.

Mendez sided with the city, which contended Albany’s consent was not needed because greenspace was being leased to developers, and therefore no parkland would be alienated.

He wrote in his decision that the mall and movie theater would “result in the public benefit of removal of urban blight.”

John Low-Beer, attorney for the plaintiffs, said they planned to appeal.

“Plaintiffs do not believe that the state Legislature, when it passed the law permitting the construction of Shea Stadium, intended to allow construction of a shopping mall,” Low-Beer said in a statement.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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