FORT WADSWORTH — A judge has slapped developers with a temporary restraining order to stop work at the former Jesuit retreat house Mount Manresa.
After protestors took to the courts to try stopping bulldozers from beginning development of 250 housing units at the site, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Peter Moulton ordered that the Savo Brothers can't start work on the site until Tuesday, said Jack Bolembach, a member of the "Save Mount Manresa Committee."
Bolembach said the judge issued the stop work order to "see if the parties can get together and make a decision," for the future of the 15-acre historic site. Another hearing on the land is set for Monday, Bolembach said.
While the Landmarks Preservation Committee denied the group's plea to landmark the site, the group has received support from nearly every elected official in the borough, as well as the public advocate. Councilwoman Debi Rose introduced a resolution to save the land in February.
"Today, I am pleased to have introduced a resolution calling on the new owners, the Savo Brothers, to protect and preserve in its current form the land known as Mount Manresa. Mount Manresa is Staten Island history,” said Rose, who previously said she was "sad at the thought a Staten Island jewel, Mount Manresa, could be destroyed."
The group's also pushing the mayor and landmarks to visit the site, which Bolembach said has historic buildings and nearly 400-year-old trees.
"It's one of the rare places on Staten Island where everything is all natural," Bolembach said. "This is one small area where it is still original."
Protesters have demonstrated in front of the site nearly every weekend in hopes of saving it, and have even lined up a partner willing to shell out $5 million to use the land as is. However, the group so far has been unable to reverse the $15 million sale to the Savo Brothers, which was finalized in February.
Still, despite setbacks, Bolembach the group plans to fight the sale any way it can until the very end.
"We're trying everything possible," he said. "Nobody's given up. We're in the fight."