Kunst said the email was unsolicited and sent shortly after news broke that the second anchor store in the proposed mixed-use development would no longer be participating.
Kunst said she was not alarmed by Lowe’s decision and that she anticipated the development would happen and bring more than 700 jobs to Baltimore.
Ryan O’Doherty, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said the Lowe’s project got caught up in the chain’s national reorganization, but also said lawsuits over the 25th Street development didn’t help matters.
“You have to wonder if things could have been different if frivolous lawsuits hadn’t been filed against the project,” O’Doherty said.
He said that Lowe’s backing out of the development should be a warning to those engaging in litigation over the proposed State Center and Super Block projects.
“The only thing that is being accomplished is scaring away investors in difficult economic times,” O’Doherty said.
Two lawsuits have been filed questioning the city’s granting the development of a Planned Unit Development. Both lawsuits are expected to be reviewed by the Court of Special Appeals in January.
Benn Ray, owner of Atomic Books in Hampden and a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, bristled at accusations they had anything to do with the Lowe’s pulling out of the project. He said the decision to pull out of the development was due to the economy.
“I said from day one that this economy was too crappy for that kind of development,” Ray said.
He also said that if development had started on the project the city would be left with a “concrete tomb” without any tenants. He called the project a “no money down development” that was purely intended to bring a Walmart to the neighborhood.
“We wanted smart growth and smart development and this has neither,” Ray said.
Councilman Carl Stokes, who represents the area where the 25th Street Station development is proposed, said the neighborhood was losing a chance for economic growth.
“The loss of a major entity such as Lowe’s is a disappointment,” Stokes said.
Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who represents the district just to the north of the proposed development, also expressed concern about Lowe’s pulling out of the project.
“Well, that’s devastating for the neighborhood because they were a major anchor,” Clarke said.