Subcontractors sue Ray Lewis project in Hunt Valley

MVP Entertainment financing delayed but back on track, partner says

December 20, 2010|By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun

MVP Entertainment, a planned Hunt Valley bowling alley and restaurant led by the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis, is facing lawsuits from four subcontractors who claim they have not been paid for more than $600,000 worth of work.

The project, which also would feature an arcade, sushi bar and pool tables, was announced in September 2009 with great fanfare, with its backers talking about the temporary and long-term jobs it would add to the Baltimore County economy.

But Marc Rosen, Lewis' partner in the venture, said in a recent interview that financing for the project fell through over the summer after a bank couldn't provide an expected loan. Rosen said that he and others involved with the project spent the past several months piecing together new financing for the venue, located at the Hunt Valley Towne Center.

"Because of the recession, finding banks that were actually lending was difficult," Rosen said.

The project is part of Lewis' wide-ranging plans to prepare for a career after his retirement from the NFL, though he hasn't set a date for that. In addition to the Hunt Valley entertainment center, Lewis has a stake in a digital media company, a real estate advisory firm and a music production entity, and he recently appeared in Old Spice commercials.

Lewis, who has a majority stake in MVP Entertainment, could not be reached for comment.

In the past few weeks, Rosen said he has worked with a new bank, and the financing could be complete as early as this week. He declined to name the banks involved or say how much money was needed to build MVP Entertainment, citing competitive reasons.

The project is expected to be open in the spring, Rosen said. The four contractors who've done the work will be paid "100 percent," he added.

Three subcontracting companies that filed suit in Baltimore County Circuit Court claimed they were owed more than $634,000.

The companies are:

•Smith Mechanical Inc. of Columbia, which installed ventilation equipment and claims it is owed more than $241,000.

•Unlimited Restoration Specialists Inc. of Pottstown, Pa., which stripped paint and says it is owed more than $225,000.

•Southern Insulation Inc. of Hyattsville, which applied spray-on fire-proofing to the building interior and claims it is owed more than $168,000.

Another subcontractor, D.S. Steel Supply of Baltimore, also has filed a case in Baltimore County Circuit Court, though the case file wasn't available for public review.

None of the subcontractors could be reached for comment. The main contractor, Peak Contracting of Hunt Valley, a defendant in three of the four suits, did not respond to requests for comment.

MVP Entertainment would occupy part of the site of a former Wal-Mart. The 63,000-square-foot facility is across a parking lot from a movie theater complex and is near numerous stores and restaurants.

When they announced the Hunt Valley project, Lewis and Rosen suggested that it would serve as a model for similar venues in other parts of the country. That possibility still exists, according to Rosen.

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