Developer pays town and SORE $170,000 in costs, group says
Developer Benny Marotta has dropped his controversial lawsuit challenging the town’s historic designation of two properties that make up the Rand Estate.
Niagara-on-the-Lake council designated the properties, 177 and 244 John St. E., during its final meeting of 2020 on Dec. 21.
Marotta filed his initial lawsuit to challenge the town’s intention to designate the properties in 2018.
The Ontario Superior Court rejected Marotta’s challenge and awarded costs to the town and resident group Save Our Rand Estate, which was granted party status in the hearing.
According to an email sent to SORE’s supporters Wednesday, Marotta’s companies paid the town and SORE a combined $170,000 in costs in order to walk away from the appeal.
Marotta did not respond to a request for comment before press time.
“In SORE’s view, the Marotta court challenge was always spurious and a thinly veiled attempt to bully the town and its residents,” the group said.
“SORE is grateful for the able support of the town in pushing back against these bully tactics.”
Marotta is maintaining his challenge before the Conservation Review Board regarding the town’s notices of intent to designate the other two properties of th Rand Estate, 200 John St. E. and 588 Charlotte St. under the Heritage Act.
The challenge is scheduled to be heard in early July.
Marotta had originally planned to build a seven-storey hotel and conference centre on the 177 and 244 John St. E. properties, but abandoned those plans last October when he listed the properties for sale for $19 million.
Marotta has said he still intends to follow through with a subdivision on the remaining two properties. He bought the four properties in February 2017 for $7.25 million.