In what was described by Riverdale Park Mayor Vernon Archer as a "shake-up of leadership," Calvert Tract LLC has hired a new lead attorney to head up the Cafritz development project.
Larry Taub, an attorney with O'Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, was named new lead attorney on the project during Monday's Town Council meeting. Taub was also the lead attorney on EYA's Arts District in Hyattsville several years ago, ushering the project through the planning process.
Archer applauded the hiring.
"Larry Taub you were a joy to work with [on the EYA development] and I’m very happy that Mrs. Cafritz chose you to lead the legal team. I have renewed faith," Archer said.
Calvert Tract LLC has also retained a second firm, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, to lead, manage and organize the technical teams on the project. Firm partner Mark Regulinski will head that effort. Regulinski isn't new to this area either, having worked on the American Center for Physics development several years ago.
While the change in legal representation is good, said Archer, the thing he was most excited about was the addition of the project mangers.
"All of the missteps would have been prevented with that kind of professional assistance," Archer said.
The missteps Archer was referring to include the developers last minute withdrawal of their preliminary plans after they failed to meet several conditions, and three draft letters that were presented to the University Park Town Council that some found misleading.
For their part, the new development team is enthusiastic.
“For whatever bumps in the road there have been, this project is moving forward,” Taub said. "We do believe it’s going to be a great, great addition to the town of Riverdale Park and to the entire area."
Regulinski is also ready to tackle the challenges presented by the project conditions.
"By and large there is tremendous momentum on the project," he said, adding, "The team remains committed to the conditions."
Late last week, the developers sent a letter to the Prince George's County Planning Board announcing their intent to refile the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision. Though he was questioned on this point by Archer, Regulinski would not say when exactly they would resubmit their plans.
“We are beavering away on the issues that remain open so that the refiling, when it does happen, there aren’t any surprises or false steps," he said.
Developers must wait a minimum of 30 business days from announcing their intent to refile before resubmitting plans, according to planning board regulations.
There has been no official word on the role that former lead attorney Chip Reed will now play in the project, though Archer said he will likely still be on the team in a different capacity.
Reed had not responded to calls for comment as of the time of publishing.