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Posted April 18, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Winchester engineering firm sues over Russell 150 work

Work on the mixed-use Russell 150 development
Work on the mixed-use Russell 150 development, which will connect Frederick County with Winchester's Tevis Street corridor via a bridge over Interstate 81, has grinded to a halt. Dennis Grundman/Daily

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The fate of a building project slated to connect one of the city's retail corridors with Frederick County remains muddled as a local engineering firm has filed suit against its developer.

Perry Engineering Co. Inc. claims that Russell 150 LC breached its contract and owes the engineering firm nearly $1.2 million for services, labor and materials provided to improve the site.

The suit names Denver E. Quinnelly as the registered agent for Russell 150. Quinnelly, however, has run into financial trouble as other projects remain incomplete or have ended up on the auction block recently.

The Russell 150 property is in the Shawnee Magisterial District off Front Royal Pike (U.S. 522), east of Interstate 81.

A master plan filed with the county identifies 96 acres of the property for commercial use and 54 acres for residential use, including a maximum of 297 townhouses. The project includes road improvements such as an extension of Airport Road, which would connect to a bridge over the interstate and to Tevis Street in Winchester.

Planning department officials with both localities have said the extensions and bridge would help divert much of the traffic away from U.S. 17-50 and the I-81 interchange into Winchester.

Jim Deskins, director of economic redevelopment for the city, said the grading for the Tevis Street extension and the abutment for the Interstate 81 bridge are complete. The street has not been paved pending the completion of the four-lane, flyover bridge across the interstate.

"I guess it's just up to whenever Denver Quinnelly get his thing together and get his bridge built," Deskins said.

A community development authority was created for Russell 150 in order to receive bonds for the project.

Some work has been done on the Russell 150 project, but its fate remains unknown.

Perry Engineering entered into a written contract with Russell 150 to provide road improvements in connection with the project, according to the lawsuit. In accordance with the contract, the suit states, Perry performed services and furnished materials and labor to Russell 150. Russell 150 then was invoiced for the services, materials and labor and paid the first of these invoices, according to the plaintiff.

But Russell 150 has failed to pay any subsequent invoices, the lawsuit alleges. Perry caused a memorandum for mechanic's liens to be recorded against two parcels on Oct. 30 for the unpaid balance, the suit states.

Perry alleges in the first count of the lawsuit that Russell 150 breached the contract between the two firms and owes Perry $1,189,558.99. The second count alleges Russell 150 would be "enriched" by not paying this amount. Count three calls for the enforcement of the mechanic's lien.

Perry is asking the court to enter judgment in the amount sought plus 18 percent interest per year from Oct. 31.

The plaintiff also wants the court to order the property or portions thereof to be sold in order to pay off the debt, the lawsuit states.

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