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City asks court to dismiss suit challenging developer selection
(Published December 1, 2003)

The D.C. government is asking a D.C. Superior Court judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the process that was used to select a developer for the old convention center site downtown.

In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed earlier this month by The Related Companies Inc., an unsuccessful bidder to redevelop the 10-acre site, the District's Office of the Corporation Counsel contends that the complaint is based on "mere speculation ... and unsupported characterizations."

Mayor Anthony A. Williams on Nov. 6 announced the selection of a development team headed by Hines Interests LP to transform the old convention center site into a mix of housing, retail and parks. The development team also includes Archstone-Smith Residential, Georgetown Development Corp., Bundy Development Corp. and Neighborhood Development Corp.

"Officials for Related Companies praised our selection process at an open city council hearing, and only began criticizing it when they didn't win," said Deputy Mayor Eric Price, who oversees development projects. "We ran a fair and open process."

The lawsuit contends that the city violated its own procurement procedures and D.C. law in the 17-month process it used to select a developer that allegedly involved "no objective measure of the relative strengths of competitive proposals" and no discussion of costs. The suit seeks to void the selection process and force the city to start over.

Several D.C. City Council members also have criticized the process, citing similar complaints. The council ultimately must approve redevelopment of the city-owned site at Ninth Street and New York Avenue NW, which has an estimated value of about $300 million.

Copyright 2003, The Common Denominator