By Jane Smith

    The attorneys for Delray Beach responded to Atlantic Crossing’s $25 million lawsuit, now in federal court, with a motion to dismiss on Oct. 26.
    The motion delves into the legal complexity of the $200 million, 9.2-acre proposed mixed-use project at the northeast corner of Federal Highway and Atlantic Avenue and why it has not gone forward.
    The lawsuit has a May 2016 trial date in federal court in West Palm Beach with U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks. It also was assigned a federal magistrate, Dave Lee Brannon, who can help arrange settlement or mediation discussions. A pretrial conference is set for May 25.
    The city’s position is that the developers are not entitled to any damages because they have not stated a substantive constitutional claim from being deprived of using their property.
    “We are in the process of reviewing the city’s filing and will respond in the court. We are confident that this matter will proceed and we will have our day in court,” said Jeff Edwards, president of the Edwards Companies. “At the same time, we are always open to working with the city toward an amicable settlement that is fair and reasonable.”
    The Edwards Companies, based in Ohio, and local partner CDS Delray Redevelopment, first filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court in June, alleging the city wrongly delayed it from moving forward with the Atlantic Crossing project.
    The rest of the lawsuit should be sent back to state court to be heard or dismissed because the developers fail to state a cause of action or the claims are not ready to be heard, according to the city’s motion to dismiss.
    The first three counts concern the abandoned alleyways and are not ready to be heard, the city says. The city called a special meeting in August to ask for the alleys to be returned, but they are still held in escrow, according to the city’s motion.
    The other five counts concern the site plan approval process for Atlantic Crossing. The city takes the position that the developers should have opposed the 2013 site plan approval within 30 days in state court.
    Those counts also seek injunctive relief without saying why the claims are valid, the city alleges. In addition, three of the five counts should be dismissed because they fail to give a reason why relief should be granted, the city says.

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