There can be legal obstacles in any construction or development project. Often, the size and the amount of obstacles can increase with the size of the project. Large development projects can take years and years before groundbreaking even starts. The are many items that need to be addressed during a large project, including politics, permits, traffic concerns, zoning, zoning variances, and litigation.
For example, let’s look at the Barnes Foundation’s efforts to build a new museum for its world-renown art collection of more than 800 paintings. Located in suburban Lower Merion, the foundation made the decision to relocate to a new Museum in Center City, Philadelphia.
They made the decision to move almost 10 years ago, but construction on the new $150-million facility did not begin until a few years ago. The development and construction process was delayed by years of litigation in the court system. In fact, the litigation is still not over. A hearing is scheduled in August to resolve the request of a group that would like to block the move because of a provision in the will of Albert Barnes, the benefactor of the foundation. Most believe that the attempt to block the move will fail, because the judge who will rule on the lawsuit has already ruled that the move can happen.
Scheduled to open in 2012, the new museum will sit on 4.5 acres in Center City, an area that already houses other famous museums.
As the story of Barnes Foundation’s move demonstrates, legal obstacles can pop up at many phases of the construction and development process. When undertaking a large construction project, an experienced real estate development attorney can be a valuable ally.
Source: Reuters, “Barnes art collection nears final days at old home,” Dave Warner, 1 July 2011