Reuse of the former Fort Ritchie, a north central Maryland installation closed following the 1995 round of base closures, continues to remain bogged down in litigation. Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) — the developer which acquired the site’s 592 acres from 2006 to 2007 for $5.0 million — announced that it expects further delays from litigation initiated in 2005 after the Army revealed earlier this month that “tactical defoliants/herbicides” were tested at numerous installations, including Ritchie.
The Columbia, Md.-based real estate investment trust said it had not been aware of the prior use of herbicides at Ritchie, and that it is working with the Army and the PenMar Development Corp. to determine the precise locations and extent of testing. Agent Orange was among the herbicides used at the Cascade, Md., post, which was shuttered in 1998, the Herald-Mail reported last week.
As a result of the 2005 lawsuit, COPT was ordered in November 2009 by a federal district court to suspend further development at Ritchie until the Army submits an amended record of environmental consideration or a supplemental environmental impact statement. Since acquiring the site, COPT has progressed “only modestly” on plans to redevelop Ritchie into a mixed-use development that integrates the post’s historic stone structures with office, retail, recreational, and residential facilities, the developer said in a written statement.