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Court Upholds 25th Street Station Ruling

The Court of Special Appeals upheld an earlier ruling that plaintiffs in a lawsuit lacked "standing."

UPDATED (6:29 p.m.)—The Court of Special Appeals upheld a Baltimore City Circuit Court ruling blocking a lawsuit intended to stop the controversial large scale 25th Street Station development project.

The appeals court re-affirmed the lower court ruling against the plaintiffs because they lack legal standing to bring the civil suit.

Jon Laria, the lawyer who represents WV Urban Developments, said they were "gratified" by the decision and praised the pace the court issued its decision.

"The Court’s quick action confirms and validates our view that these appeals were frivolous and groundless from the start," Laria wrote in an email. "Even with the Court's quick action, it has been well over a year since the appeals were filed, and they have cost us precious time and money."

The proposed development has been divisive in surrounding neighborhoods. Many residents feel the increased traffic, possible negative impact on local businesses and tax breaks for the developers make the project a bad deal for surrounding communities. 

The divide has been especially visible in Remington where one neighborhood association supports the development, and the Remington Neighborhood Alliance has raised questions about the proposal.

Judith Kunst, president or the Greater Remington Improvement Association, has been a supporter of the project.  On Thursday, Kunst said that she was thrilled about the decision and that she believes the development will mean new jobs that the city needs.

“It’s awesome,” Kunst said.

Benn Ray, a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, expressed disappointment in the decision.

“Obviously, I'm disappointed that the court found that despite living just a few blocks from the proposed development site, we won't have the right to have the merits of our case heard. The impact of a development of this size and scope will be felt in a far greater radius than just a block or two from ground zero, and I'm disappointed the court failed to recognize that,” Ray wrote in an email.

The proposed project is supposed to include a Wal-Mart, apartments and other retail. This fall Lowe’s, a big box retailer, announced that is no longer intended to build a store as part of the developments. 

The lawsuits have been criticized by 25th Street Station supporters and even the Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office.

At the time Lowe's announced it was backing out of the project Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, would still be involved if the lawsuits hadn't been filed.

“The only thing that is being accomplished is scaring away investors in difficult economic times,” O’Doherty said at the time.

Laria thanked the city for its support and called the deveopement a "huge" investment in Baltimore and said the an impediment to project moving forward has been removed.

"We hope the appellants will finally acknowledge how much the project benefits the community, and will now support its construction and completion," Laria wrote.

carrie bennett February 02, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Now that the lawsuit is over (?), do we have any idea on the time line for this development?
Adam Bednar (Editor) February 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Carrie I've put in a request with the developer's attorney. If/ when he gets back to me I hope to ask him about where this puts the development regarding time line.
Stephen Gewirtz February 02, 2012 at 08:59 PM
My guess is that the real holdup for the project is the developer's inability to get financing. In the present economy, banks do not want to lend money to possibly iffy projects. And the fact that Lowe's pulled out (as part of a cutback in a number of locations) shows that its management does not think that the project will be profitable.
Eric Dymond February 02, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I don't know that you can read too much into Lowe's pulling out. They're in financial trouble at the moment and are closing stores nationwide.
Kevin Lynch February 03, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Hopefully Home Depot can fill the void.
Stephen Gewirtz February 03, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Home Depot is also having its problems. But if Lowe's or Home Depot thought that 25th Street Station would be profitable, one of them would be part of the development. And without such an anchor store, it is hard to see how the building of the shopping center can proceed. Eventually, when the Anderson Motors property is available at fire sale prices, Johns Hopkins University will probably acquire it.
Eric Dymond February 05, 2012 at 08:45 PM
It was a ridiculous lawsuit in the first place. They both knew they lacked standing, but pursued it anyway hoping to get lucky.
Kun Sun Sweeley February 06, 2012 at 12:51 AM
So.... I'm guessing this means 25th Street Station is finally a "go" again???
AnnKangarouse February 07, 2012 at 02:26 PM
What did I miss? I'm not sure this was a ridiculous lawsuit at all? Please explain?
Sam Walton February 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Someone mentioned a BJ's filling Lowes void. Can't figure Gerwitz's comment about financing. Obviously, plenty of financing. If it wasn't for the lawsuits, the project would have been completed. Since the Lowes pulled out, i believe the development has to go thru a zoning process (or some sort) again before construction can begin. All hear say on my part.
Peter Kovach February 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
1:23 pm on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 the pikeco company hosts the technical drawings for the development. They show a BJ's in place of the lowes on the latest updates. You can check it out here ftp://ftp.pikeco.com/25thStreetStation/

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