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Legal dispute threatens to disrupt Maryland development project

A developer who had planned to develop an 11-acre Maryland property into a shopping complex centered around a Walmart may be forced to abandon the project due to a legal dispute with the site's owner. The property owner, Twenty Fifth Street LLC, argues that it terminated the parties' sale agreement after the developer, WV Urban Development, was unable to reach an acceptable purchase agreement with Walmart's real estate affiliate by a pre-established deadline. Twenty Fifth Street filed a petition asking a Maryland court to recognize that it ended the agreement legally and is entitled to pursue other development opportunities for the plot.

Twenty Fifth Street's owner said that the court filing does not necessarily end his partnership with the developer.

The head of WV Urban Development issued a statement explaining that the company is "extremely disappointed" that the site's owner is taking measures to effectively block the project. He noted that the company has spent a considerable amount of energy and money defending the project in a series of courts and pursuing zoning approval -- a process that has taken about two years. He explained that Walmart and other retailers who would lease space at the shopping center have remained interested in the project and said his company is ready to begin developing the site.

Aside from the dispute between Twenty Fifth Street and its prospective developer, the shopping center project has also attracted opposition from many people living in nearby residential areas. In addition to potential traffic problems, the residents have also raised questions over potentially negative effects Walmart could have on smaller local businesses.

These issues can become quite complex and often end up in a long-term battle in the courts. Situations such as this require attorneys who are well-schooled in this type of litigation.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Legal complaint jeopardized developer's plans for 25th Street lot," Larry Perl, March 20, 2013

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