Environmental Protection Act, which, unusually, authorizes the state attorney general or anybody else to sue to prevent the “unreasonable destruction” of historic structures on the National Register.

“Multifamily housing can be developed elsewhere in town; historic structures and landmarks, however, cannot simply be rebuilt,” Mario Coppola, a lawyer for the condo owners, said in a letter to the planning and zoning commission.

Mr. Cabrera described the objection — a formal challenge that threatened to stretch into a lengthy legal battle — as disingenuous. The buildings that had been slated for demolition are not of high quality and are on the outskirts of the Fourth Ward, he said. At least 18 other structures in the area have been demolished in the district to make way for luxury homes or condominiums without major public outcry, he added.

But faced with the prospect of litigation, Eagle Ventures withdrew its application last month. Mr. Cabrera said he was considering what to do next.

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