Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Final Chapter of the Plaza Residences

Selling a parcel of land with entitlements often equates to a higher sales price. That is undoubtedly what WCI Communities was hoping for in selling the land in Columbia Town Center where they had once planned to build a 23 story residential tower. The developer had a fully designed building and a building permit in hand when the recession hit and the company declared bankruptcy. Though WCI no longer had any intention to build the building they had hoped to sell the land, their design and the permit to build it to someone who could. I know of at least one loco developer who was interested in pursuing this.

The problem is that a building permit is not open ended. At some point you actually have to build something or else start the process all over again. For the Plaza Residences, the time has run out. According to this story by Jessica Anderson in The Sun, the Maryland Court of Appeals has determined that the developer has “lost its legal bid to keep plans for the tower alive.”

“The decision released Friday, made largely on procedural grounds, means that the company has to start over to pursue the project and would likely face stricter zoning restrictions passed in the intervening years by the County Council.”

In other words, any development on the site would now be subject to the Town Center redevelopment legislation passed last year.

The opponents of the project also won a long fought victory in the courts. According to this story by Lindsey McPherson in Explore Howard the state Court of Appeals also “concluded that the 2007 complaint the developer filed in Howard County Circuit Court to get the resident's appeal dismissed based on lack of standing was premature since the Howard County Board of Appeals had not ruled on the standing issue.”

Though this actually returns the matter to the Howard County Board of Appeals it is unlikely that WCI will pursue this any further. At this point that would simply be throwing good money after bad.
blog comments powered by Disqus