Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2013, 6:22 pm
Case Creek developer now asking for $13.2M in suit against airport
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By Dawn Neuses, firstname.lastname@example.org
The developer who proposed a multi-phase development on airport property amended his lawsuit and claim for damages, now asking to be awarded more than $13.2 million.
According to an amended complaint filed Monday in Rock Island Circuit Court, RDC Case Creek Trails LLC alleges the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County did not negotiate in good faith as required and violated a development agreement by failing to provide a lease.
Airport board attorney Roger Strandlund said early Tuesday evening he had not seen a copy of the amended complaint.
Case Creek Trails was proposed to include a hotel and conference center and mixed-use retail, office and aviation facilities on more than 80 acres of airport land. RDC, the airport and city of Moline entered into a development agreement in 2010 for the project.
The Quad City International Airport terminated RDC as the developer of Case Creek Trails on March 7, 2012, because the company had not secured financing.
The development agreement called for financing to be in place before the airport took any action. Court documents allege the airport knew the company needed a lease before it could get financing.
According to the amended complaint, a mortgage lender stated in November 2011 it would provide financing as soon as RDC provided it with lease agreements with the airport, but even knowing that, the airport "began stalling efforts with requests for more information from the plaintiff."
Court documents state the airport had to get FAA approvals for the development but never started the process. RDC hired consultants to prepare permit applications on behalf of the airport, the complaint states.
RDC hired an appraiser for the land after the airport "refused to provide plaintiff with a copy of any appraisal or other documentation upon which a FAA-approved lease could be based," according to court documents.
RDC got a written commitment from Hospitality Specialists to build a Courtyard by Marriott hotel and conference center once a lease was in place. RDC proceeded with plans for a wellness complex and office complex and secured tenants for both subject to lease agreements, according to court documents.
The developer spent more than $1.22 million on architects, engineers, environmental services, consulting, advertising and marketing, legal, construction and accounting, to keep the project moving forward while trying to work with the airport, the complaint states.
In addition to the money it spent, RDC is asking for "reasonably lost profits" exceeding $12 million and attorney costs.
RDC filed a lawsuit against the airport in November 2012, seeking more than $12 million in damages citing breach of the development agreement.
The airport authority filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit a month later, alleging the developer failed to secure financing for the project, thereby negating the development contract.
In September, Rock Island Circuit Court Judge Lori Lefstein asked RDC to provide more specific information on the basis for the suit, including details about the developer's efforts to fulfill the contract and the airport's alleged lack of good faith.