Baltimore City Council urges State Center negotiations

State Center. (File)

State Center. (File)

The Baltimore City Council officially urged Gov. Larry Hogan to return to the bargaining table over the embattled $1.5 billion State Center redevelopment.

On Monday, the Baltimore City Council passed the resolution unanimously. Councilman Eric Costello, who represents the Madison Park neighborhood where State Center is located, sponsored the resolution, which is not legally binding. It essentially serves as a suggestion from the city’s legislative branch.

The resolution urges Hogan to “return to the negotiating table with the City of Baltimore and members of the State Center Neighborhood Alliance in order to develop a solution that will address the needs of the surrounding community and that will benefit the city as a whole, and to commit to keeping State Center’s current slate of State agencies and jobs in Baltimore City.”

State Center LLC has been working on a redevelopment of the State Center complex dating back to the administration of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich. But the project was tied up in a lawsuit questioning the state’s procurement process for selecting a developer until 2014. In July last year the state and developer started mediation to resolve differences over the proposal.

In December, Maryland’s Board of Public Works voted 3-0 to rescind state leases for the project, essentially killing the project.

That vote happened during what was supposed to be a cooling off period for both sides, Caroline Moore, CEO of Ekistics LLC and co-managing member of State Center LLC, has previously said. The state’s chosen mediator offered an agreement the developer would accept, Moore said, but the state walked away from the deal.

Both the state and the developer are now currently locked in a legal battle in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

Since that time, State Center LLC made various attempts to goad the state to come back and negotiate an agreement. That’s included airing radio ads accusing the governor of declaring “war” on Baltimore, sending letters urging a meeting and encouraging local elected officials to urge the state to meet with the developers.

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