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Brown: P3 bill should prevent State Center repeat

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who has run point for the O’Malley administration for two years on legislation that creates special procurement rules for public-private partnerships, said the bill’s success this year should help prevent future lawsuits.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (File Photo)

House Bill 560 was among one of many bills signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday. In addition to allowing businesses to pitch their own ideas for state construction projects, the legislation is meant to create a more predictable procurement process with strict oversight from the Board of Public Works and General Assembly.

The proposed redevelopment of the State Center office complex in Baltimore was supposed to be a public-private partnership, but a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge ruled in January that the state violated its own procurement law in awarding the contract. The Maryland Court of Appeals will hear the case this fall.

“We’ll be mindful of the State Center experience,” Brown said in an interview on the legislature’s final day. “When stakeholders are more confident, they’re less likely to litigate.”

As for the future of State Center, Brown — a likely candidate for governor in 2014 — wasn’t ready to say that its redevelopment would again be negotiated as a public-private partnership.

“There’s a question for whether it ever was a P3,” Brown said.