State is appealing State Center decision

The state is appealing a circuit court judge's January ruling that voided contracts essential to the planned redevelopment of the State Center complex in midtown Baltimore, according to court records filed Friday.

The Department of General Services and the Department of Transportation, joined by the project's developers, are petitioning the state's highest court to bypass the intermediate appellate court and hear the appeal quickly.

The ruling by Baltimore City Circuit Judge Althea M. Handy creates confusion about the state's business practices and therefore needs to be dealt with swiftly, according to filings by Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's office and lawyers for the State Center development team.

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.

Two weeks ago, Judge Handy agreed, issuing the ruling that found the contracts void. Her decision effectively killed the current plans for the project, which call for a mixed-use overhaul of a 28-acre site that houses several state agencies.

The State Center redevelopment has been in the pipeline since the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

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