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Developer sues city of Wilkes-Barre for breach of contract

5/3/2013 | Real Estate Blog

South Main Plaza, L.P., a developer looking to build a shopping center in Wilkes-Barre, has filed a lawsuit in Luzerne County, accusing the city and Mayor Thomas Leighton of preventing its ability to move the project forward by hindering its ability to acquire potential tenants.

According to the complaint, the city entered into an agreement of sale with South Main Plaza in 2001, for a parcel of land adjacent to the plaza for $150,000. That parcel was to be used for construction of a multi-unit shopping center, to which the city promised to assist in obtaining “permanent, irrevocable and exclusive access.”

South Main Plaza apparently agreed to begin construction within 150 days of closing, and to finish at least one of the buildings within nine months, and to put one tenant in the building within a year of the beginning of construction.

In the suit, the developer accuses the city of failing to make its best effort to get access through a key roadway. The city is also accused of losing potential tenants, including Rite Aid and Turkey Hill, with which agreements were drawn up but never completed, in part because of the lack of access. The city, for its bar, denies hindering the project’s progression

The causes of action listed in the suit are breach of contract, de facto taking and intentional interference with prospective contractual relations. Breach of contract is a common cause of action in construction and development projects. Because the issues that arise in such cases can be complex, it helps greatly to work with an experienced real estate attorney.

Source: Source:, “Developer sues W-B, Leighton,” Sheena DeLazio, May 1, 2013.