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Commercial development held up by issue regarding sidewalks

The process of developing commercial property can be complicated. Depending on the specific circumstances of a commercial development, a wide variety of issues could arise to throw things off course. As a situation playing out in South Florida illustrates, something seemingly as minor as a sidewalk can have a big impact. A condo project involving two towers and 160 units has yet to begin as a result of the issue.

While in many situations such as this one it is another business that is responsible for holding things up, in this particular case it is actually owners of single family homes in the area who filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the development from building sidewalks that, under a contract the developer made with the city, more than 15 years ago, are required. The home owners who are involved in the lawsuit object to the sidewalks being built on their property.

The developer has taken a couple of approaches in trying to remedy the problem. First, they sought, and were denied, permission to build the sidewalks along an underground “utility easement” already present on the property. Now, the developer is trying to obtain a city building permit to build a double sidewalk on the other side of the street that would utilize property that is already owned by the developer. The city is currently considering that permit.

While this matter is unresolved the developer claims to be losing money. The developer indicated that close to half of the 77 unit reservations he had lined up failed to enter into a contract as a result of the litigation. For this reason the developer is likely eager for the matter to be resolved.

Source: South Florida Business Journal, “Aventura condo project stalled by homeowner opposition,” Brian Bandell, Dec. 3, 2014

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