The lawsuit that has held up redevelopment of the old World Trade Center Building at the foot of Canal Street was dealt another — and perhaps final — blow Thursday.
The Louisiana Supreme Court declined to take up the suit, leaving in place lower court rulings in favor of City Hall and seemingly clearing the way for work to begin on converting the vacant 33-story building into a Four Seasons hotel and condos.
The development team that’s been waiting for the lawsuit to play out released a statement after the high court’s decision, saying, “We are now able to move forward with this transformative development.”
A spokeswoman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu echoed that sentiment, saying the high court's action "clears the way for the city to transform the iconic building into a Four Seasons hotel and private residences. We’re excited that this project can finally move forward."
Still, the case has taken several odd turns before now. And the man behind the lawsuit, Stuart "Neil" Fisher, has said he would try to pursue his challenge to the city in other courts.
Fisher, the owner of Two Canal Street Investors Inc., one of the losing bidders for the right to redevelop the 1960s building, has argued that the city's process for selecting a contractor ran afoul of state law.
The courts, though, have come down on the side of Landrieu's administration and the winning team of developers, who have insisted that City Hall is exempt from the statute cited by Fisher.
The man whose lawsuit has for more than a year held up plans to turn the old World Trade Cen…
Those developers, Carpenter and Co. and Woodward Design + Build, haven't been able to get the necessary title insurance while the lawsuit proceeded. In their statement Thursday, they said the high court’s decision means the $350 million-plus project can move ahead.
However, Fisher, who bought Two Canal for $10 after it lost out in the city's selection process, has said before that he might try to revive his challenge to the project in other courts.
Two Canal has already filed for bankruptcy in Florida, and Fisher has said he hopes to use an arcane legal maneuver that might allow him to file a complaint against the city that would be similar to a lawsuit.
He did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.
The firm that has asked Louisiana’s highest court to consider its suit challenging the World…