Crown Farm development emerges from bankruptcy filing
Site could be lynchpin of economic development in Gaithersburg
Plans for the embattled Crown Farm development could come before the Gaithersburg mayor and council as early as this fall, city officials report.
The billion-dollar project, which was stalled in mid-2009 after the developers filed for bankruptcy, can begin to move again now that Crown Village Farm, LLC, emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings last month.
A property deal and annexation agreement with the city signed in 2006 promised to bring homes, retail, office space, roads, public art, a school and other amenities to the 181-acre property near interstates 270 and 370 at Fields Road. But the project's creditors alleged breach of contract, and two of the original developers filed for bankruptcy in May. Creditors filed lawsuits in three states that did not settle until December.
A spokeswoman from KB Home Maryland LLC, one of the Crown Farm developers, did not return calls for comment.
Changes still have to be made to the right of way along Sam Eig Highway and in some neighborhoods affected by the proposed route for the Corridor Cities Transitway, which would connect the Shady Grove Metro station to Clarksburg via light rail or rapid bus, said Greg Ossont, the city's director of Planning and Code Enforcement.
The end of the bankruptcy proceedings comes as a relief for city officials who are nervous about the slow rate of economic development.
Crown Farm is one of several large development projects in the city that recently have stalled and are key to jump-starting economic development in Gaithersburg, City Manager Angel Jones has said.
Assistant City Manager Tony Tomasello, who is in charge of economic development for the city, said getting Crown Farm moving probably will inspire confidence in the development community.
"It's a large piece of the puzzle," he said.
Although residential development is not usually a key to attracting businesses in other communities, Gaithersburg is different, Tomasello said, and additional housing could make the area more enticing for businesses.
"For us as a city, residential can be very important."