UPDATED (6:29 p.m.)—The Court of Special Appeals upheld a Baltimore City Circuit Court ruling blocking a lawsuit intended to stop the controversial large scale 25th Street Station development project.
The appeals court re-affirmed the lower court ruling against the plaintiffs because they lack legal standing to bring the civil suit.
Jon Laria, the lawyer who represents WV Urban Developments, said they were "gratified" by the decision and praised the pace the court issued its decision.
"The Court’s quick action confirms and validates our view that these appeals were frivolous and groundless from the start," Laria wrote in an email. "Even with the Court's quick action, it has been well over a year since the appeals were filed, and they have cost us precious time and money."
The proposed development has been divisive in surrounding neighborhoods. Many residents feel the increased traffic, possible negative impact on local businesses and tax breaks for the developers make the project a bad deal for surrounding communities.
The divide has been especially visible in Remington where one neighborhood association supports the development, and the Remington Neighborhood Alliance has raised questions about the proposal.
Judith Kunst, president or the Greater Remington Improvement Association, has been a supporter of the project. On Thursday, Kunst said that she was thrilled about the decision and that she believes the development will mean new jobs that the city needs.
“It’s awesome,” Kunst said.
Benn Ray, a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits, expressed disappointment in the decision.
“Obviously, I'm disappointed that the court found that despite living just a few blocks from the proposed development site, we won't have the right to have the merits of our case heard. The impact of a development of this size and scope will be felt in a far greater radius than just a block or two from ground zero, and I'm disappointed the court failed to recognize that,” Ray wrote in an email.
The proposed project is supposed to include a Wal-Mart, apartments and other retail. This fall Lowe’s, a big box retailer, announced that is no longer intended to build a store as part of the developments.
The lawsuits have been criticized by 25th Street Station supporters and even the Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office.
At the time Lowe's announced it was backing out of the project Ryan O'Doherty, a spokesman for Rawlings-Blake, would still be involved if the lawsuits hadn't been filed.
“The only thing that is being accomplished is scaring away investors in difficult economic times,” O’Doherty said at the time.
Laria thanked the city for its support and called the deveopement a "huge" investment in Baltimore and said the an impediment to project moving forward has been removed.
"We hope the appellants will finally acknowledge how much the project benefits the community, and will now support its construction and completion," Laria wrote.