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City clears legal hurdle over slots site

City officials have agreed to pay a local development team $1.2 million to settle a 2007 deal on a portion of land included in the 17-acre parcel slated for a slots parlor, clearing one of the last legal hurdles before the site can be developed.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office announced today that it had reached the agreement with Gateway South LLC, headed by Samuel Polakoff, over the 11-acre site off of Russell Street. The deal is slated to go before the five-member Board of Estimates tomorrow.

The quasi-public Baltimore Development Corporation awarded the exclusive negotiating rights to Polakoff for the 11-acre waterfront site in 2007. Polakoff, whose company was then called Cormony Development LLC, had plans to team with Ray Lewis to build offices, shops, restaurants and a sports entertainment complex on the site.

Polakoff had initially asked for as much as $4 million to repay the investment he had made in the property, but the city negotiated the amount down, according to a statement from Rawlings-Blake's office.

One last legal challenge remains on the site. Canadian developer Michael Moldenhauer, who was the sole bidder on the casino in 2009, is appealing the state's decision not to grant his company a slots license.

The state slots commission issued a new request for proposals for the site in late April and applications are due at the end of next month. Moldenhauer is among the developers who are considering placing a bid on the project.

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