After gaining control, the county plans to construct a mixed-use development that will include schools, a transit hub, affordable housing and retail. According to government documents, the county has already prepared $15.7 million for land acquisition.
“With meaningful community engagement moving forward, we can design tremendous amenities that make the corner of Vermont and Manchester the source of pride once again, rather than a long-standing example of stagnation,” supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said.
Meanwhile, the development company and its owner Eli Sasson have hired lawyer Robert Silverstein to fight the county. Apparently, an entertainment village has already been planned for the 4-ac. parcel and the developer is determined to move forward despite the county’s decision.
Sasson Development has held ownership for nearly 20 years. In 2015, it held a groundbreaking ceremony for a project which included an outdoor shopping mall with restaurants and retail. However, construction work was never started.
According to the developer, the project was stalled as it required more land area. Recently, the firm acquired the three parcels needed to begin construction.
During the supervisors’ meeting, Silverstein accused the county of misusing its power of eminent domain. He urged the board to reconsider their decision “before this becomes another process that further delays what this community has waited for so long, which is this catalytic, revitalizing retail project.”