The development of the Lavender lot in Parkville could hinge on the sale of a former bus stop located on the same property.
Donald Hutchinson, chairman of the five-member Baltimore County Revenue Authority board, said a disagreement over price between the state Department of Transportation and the authority could nix the deal.
"There is a big curveball," said Hutchinson.
Under a 1958 agreement with what was then the city transit authority, the authority believed it could buy back the property used as a bus stop for $14,000. The authority sent the state a check but it was never cashed.
"Now we're told by the lawyers that (the state) wants to sell it for market value—in excess of $100,000," said Hutchinson.
The authority voted nearly a year ago to sell the 56-space lot at the corner of Lavender Avenue and Harford Road for $500,000 to Towson-based DMS Development, which plans to build a Walgreens Pharmacy on the property.
The Greater Parkville Community Council and Parkville-Carney Business Association opposed the sale, claiming the sale of the only public metered parking spaces would hurt existing businesses and attempts to attract new shops to the area.
Finalizing the sale has hinged on the purchase of the state-owned portion of the parcel, which became public last week when Hutchinson spoke to a meeting of state sentors who represent Baltimore County.
The higher costs could cause the authority to reconsider the sale.
Hutchinson said the authority plans to put $100,000 back into the Parkville community through various groups. Adding another $100,000 or more to the costs of the sale could make it unprofitable for the quasi-governmental agency.
"It would take a $500,000 deal and turn it into a $300,000 deal," said Hutchinson. "We'll have to see if it's worth it."
Ruth Baisden, president of the Greater Parkville Community Council, expressed surprise over the snag.
"Things on this Revenue Authority board change very fast," said Baisden. "We've been kept out of the loop and this is typical of they way they handle things."
News of the authority pumping $100,000 back into the community also came as a shock to Baisden.
"I'm skeptical," said Baisden. "They've said so many things from the beginning. I'm a bit taken aback by this news."
David Schlachman, a principal with DMS Development, said his company's plans are in a holding pattern.
"The state and the authority need to figure out what they're going to do and we'll take it from there," said Schlachman, whose company has built 10 other Walgreens in Maryland and has another under construction. "We like the area. We like the corner."
Schlachman said it's too early too tell if the deal would be off if the state and authority can't come to an agreement.
In the mean time, Schlachman said he plans to reach out again to the community in an attempt to come to an agreement about the development.
"We'd like to try and work something out," said Schlachman.