HERCULES, CA-A dispute over commercial development in Hercules has been moved to Contra Costa Superior Court, halting a Southern California developer’s plans to renovate the Creekside shopping center.

Herbert J. Farber, the developer, has filed a $12 million countersuit in response to the City of Hercules’ lawsuit for a ruling to cancel its redevelopment contract with Farber.

Farber is suing the city, the redevelopment agency and the city manager for damages caused by alleged breach of contract, intentional interface with contract relations and interference with potential economic advantage.

In 1999, Hercules Outlet Village LLS was formed by the developer to reconstruct the Creekside mall into an upscale shopping center. Residents in the area protested it from the start, saying that it would hurt small businesses and increase traffic.

The residents launched a recall campaign against City Council members who voted for the project. Farber withdrew his proposal when hit with an ordinance that required union-level wages for all construction projects financed by redevelopment funds that would have significantly increased his costs.

Farber then presented plans to build a smaller shopping center anchored by Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse. His lawsuit says that the city withheld approval of his new plans illegally and then canceled his contract prematurely. He is suing for $12 million in damages and lost lease revenues.