Monday, January 21, 2013

Plaza Tower Redux

Five years ago I wrote this post lamenting the demise of the Plaza Residences condominium project in downtown Columbia. The 23 story luxury high rise fell victim to the housing recession and delays caused by lawsuits seeking stop it. WCI Communities had started the project in 2006 but two years of legal challenges cost the company dearly. WCI declared bankruptcy in 2008 and put the project, including a building permit, on the market. The hope was that someone else would be willing to take that permit and  finish the project.

In August of 2011, Jessica Anderson reported in The Sun that WCI “lost its legal bid to keep plans for the tower alive.”

Or did it?

Last year David Costello and a group of investors purchased the property, along with the completed construction drawings for the Plaza Residences tower. It turns out that he also acquired a valid building permit, a permit that was originally issued over five years ago.

Last week, at the wall breaking ceremony for The Mall expansion, I asked Marsha McLaughlin if that permit was still valid. “Yes,” she replied.

In other words, it’s not dead yet. Costello may ultimately decide not to build the Plaza Residences building. If he felt the market could not support a luxury condo project in downtown Columbia, he could always take a different direction with the property. On the other hand, if he wants to build the 23 story tower it looks like he could.
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