Court of Appeals to hear State Center case

The Baltimore Sun

The state's highest court will review a Baltimore judge's declaration that contracts at the heart of the long-planned State Center redevelopment are void.

Maryland's Court of Appeals granted the review on Tuesday. The decision means the case will skip the state's intermediate appellate court.

In January, Judge Althea M. Handy voided the development contracts that set up a framework for a mixed-use overhaul of a 28-acre site in midtown Baltimore that houses several state agencies.

If her decision stands after the Court of Appeals' review, it would effectively kill the current plans for the State Center redevelopment, which has been in the pipeline since the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

In 2010, a group of business owners and landlords filed suit, alleging that the development contracts were illegitimate. Those contracts should have followed Maryland procurement laws, they argued. Handy agreed.

The project's developers, with the state's Department of General Services and the Department of Transportation, appealed her decision. 

The Attorney General's office, representing the state agencies, and the developers want to resolve the litigation as quickly as possible. The case, they say, is preventing them from getting financing for the project.

The request for the Court of Appeals' immediate review was not opposed by the business owners and landlords who filed the suit.

A hearing date has not yet been scheduled. 

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