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Appeals court rejects project to build $1 billion NYC mall

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A billion-dollar redevelopment plan originally proposed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been dealt a major setback after the state’s highest court decided the city doesn’t have the legal authority to develop the land.

The Court of Appeals ruled 6-1 Tuesday, saying only state legislators can give away public park land through specific changes in the law.

The Willets West plan called for a private developer to build a large mall on top of a parking lot outside Citi Field, where Shea Stadium once stood. To build the mall, the city would have to give private developers 47 acres of land from Flushing Meadows Park.

Bloomberg proposed redeveloping the neighboring Willets Point area.

State Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, called the plan a heist of public land. The developer is considering next steps.

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This story has been corrected to show that project is for $1 billion mall, not $1.

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