Developers Oliver T. Carr and Theodore R. Hagans failed yesterday in their first attempt to block the D.C. urban renewal agency from selecting a new developer for the coveted Metro Center site in the heart of downtown.
Carr and Hagans, whose rights to develop Metro Center were withdrawn by the urban renewal agency in March, asked D.C. Superior Court Judge Nicholas Nunzio yesterday to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the city from accepting new proposals for the redevelopment project, selecting a new developer or selling the 3.7 acre site.
Nunzio refused to issue the order.
The court action came on the eve of the city's deadline for accepting new proposals for the redevelopment of Metro Center from the four developers who initially lost the competition for the site. The city solicited those proposals after the Redevelopment Land Agency removed Carr and Hagans from the project in a dispute over the price of the land.
Carr and Hagans, who have filed a lawsuit to regain the project, argued that the selection of a new developer would interfere with their suit by "interposing the contractual rights of another developer."
Nunzio disagreed after attorneys for the city government argued that the RLA had informed prospective new developers by letter of the pending lawsuit. Therefore, the city's lawyers said, the developers know that all selections are subject to the outcome of court actions.
New proposals from the eligible local developers, Western Development Co., JBG Associates, Landow and Associates, and the Blake Construction Company, are due by 5 p.m. today.
The Western Development Co., which built the Georgetown Park shopping mall, has revived its partnership of four years ago with the Rockefeller Development Corp. to bid again on Metro Center. Rockefeller Development Corp., which built Rockefeller Center in New York, part of Renaissance Center in Detroit and other large-scale development projects, is controlled by the Rockefeller family.
Western, which bid unsuccessfully three times in the last four years for downtown city-owned sites, has also signed up minority partners, including David Wilmot, general counsel to the city's convention center board; consultant Marie Barksdale; Senate Banking Committee counsel Carolyn Jordan; consultant John Clyburn, a longtime friend of city administrator Elijah Rogers; attorney Ruby McZier, who recently left the D.C. Zoning Commission because her term had expired, and architect Charles Bryant.
Most of the minority partners were also part of Western's earlier unsuccessful effort to win the 10-acre Portal site in Southwest. Sources close to Western said the minority partners had signed personal notes to Western officials promising to pay their share of the expenses of the Portal proposals and their inclusion on the new team was to help them pay off those notes if the team won Metro Center.
C&P executive Delano Lewis, who is finance chairman of Mayor Marion Barry's reelection campaign, was also a member of Western's Portal team and was asked to join this time, but he declined. Lewis said yesterday his decision was for personal reasons and because he wanted to avoid any appearances of a conflict of interest.
JBG Associates, a local office-building and hotel developer who built the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, the Channel Inn in Southwest and at least six major downtown office buildings, has joined with Metropolitan Structures of Chicago, which in turn is in partnership with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. of New York.
The minority partners for the JBG team include television commentator Carl Rowan, Channel Inn owner Manuel Fernandez, contractor Roger Blount, consultant Roy Littlejohn, architect Paul Devrouax and publicist Jeanne Clark, sources said.
JBG also snared real estate developer Ozzie Clay, who also had been courted by Western.