Legal complaint jeopardizes developer's plans for 25th Street lot

A dispute between the owner of an 11-acre site in Remington and the developer that plans to build a Walmart-anchored shopping center there has thrown the project's future into doubt.

Twenty Fifth Street LLC, the property owner, filed Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court asking a judge to declare that it legally terminated sale agreements with WV Baltimore-24/Sisson LLC, a development team led by Rick Walker.

Twenty Fifth Street is controlled by Bruce Mortimer, president of Anderson Automotive Group, which has operated car dealerships on the site.

Mortimer's company contended in its suit that it terminated the sales agreements in October 2012 after the developer failed to come to terms on a purchase agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s real estate affiliate by a September deadline. Twenty Fifth Street has begun exploring other options to market the property, it said in the suit.

"It doesn't mean the development won't happen, but I need to resolve this issue before I can go any further," Mortimer said in an interview.

Many residents of Hampden and Remington fought the controversial project, largely because of concerns about traffic and the competitive impact a big-box store like Walmart would have on local hardware stores.

"We are extremely disappointed that after we spent a year getting zoning approvals and more than another year defending them through three Maryland courts, all at great expense, the seller is trying to pull the rug out from under us just when we are ready to proceed," said Walker, principal of WV Urban Development, in a statement. "Walmart has hung in there with us, other retailers are on board, we have a great development team, and we are ready to get the project going. We're talking about hundreds of jobs and millions in investment in the City and we want to finish what we started."

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