State Center heads to mediation Thursday

The following article first appeared in the Baltimore Sun on July 25, 2016:

Formal mediation between the developer of State Center and the state begin Thursday in an effort to resolve disputes over the long-delayed project.

The plan, in the works for more than 10 years, would redevelop a 28-acre swath of midtown Baltimore with homes and stores anchored by offices rented by the state. It has been stalled since 2014, when the Board of Public Works postponed a vote on a change to the size of of the project's state parking garage, deferring to the new administration.

Conversations under Gov. Larry Hogan that restarted last year fell apart this spring, leading to the mediation, which is expected to start Thursday under the watch of former federal Judge Frederic N. Smalkin, said lead developer Caroline Moore of Ekistics LLC.

"We just can't go on forever," Moore said.

Moore said she is committed to the project as it has been approved, including its leases. Some items, such as timing and the ownership of what had been planned as a state-owned garage may be up for discussion, she said.

If the negotiations fail, Moore said the team intends to sue the state for damages for what it already has spent on the project. She declined to say how much the team has invested, citing the forthcoming negotiations.

A spokesman for Hogan did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

nsherman@baltsun.com

Melissa Heuer