NYC Mayor Bloomberg praises move that clears way for Islamic center near Ground Zero.
A New York City commission on Tuesday denied landmark status to a building near the World Trade Center site, freeing a group to convert the property into an Islamic community center and mosque.
Those plans have drawn national opposition.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-0, saying the 152-year-old building blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 attacks wasn't special or distinctive enough to meet criteria to qualify as a landmark.
Commissioners also said that other buildings from the era were better examples of the building's style.
National and New York politicians and the Anti-Defamation League have come out in recent weeks against plans for the mosque, saying it disrespects the memory of Sept. 11 victims.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who also chairs the foundation building the Sept. 11 memorial, has defended plans for the mosque.
Bloomberg joined City Council Chair Christine Quinn and several religious leaders to reiterate his support for the mosque, which has drawn criticism from some Republicans and family members of those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bloomberg said the firefighters and other first responders who died in the attacks had done so to protect religious freedom.
The mosque would be part of an Islamic community center to be operated by a group called the Cordoba Initiative, which says the center will be a space for moderate Muslim voices.