15. Commitments and Contingencies
In the normal course of business, we are involved in legal actions arising from our ownership and administration of properties. We establish reserves for specific legal proceedings when we determine that the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome is probable and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. Management does not anticipate that any liabilities that may result from such proceedings will have a materially adverse effect on our financial position, operations or liquidity. Our assessment of the potential outcomes of these matters involves significant judgment and is subject to change based on future developments.
We are subject to various Federal, state and local environmental regulations related to our property ownership and operation. We have performed environmental assessments of our properties, the results of which have not revealed any environmental liability that we believe would have a materially adverse effect on our financial position, operations or liquidity.
In connection with our 2005 contribution of properties to an unconsolidated partnership in which we hold a limited partnership interest, we entered into standard nonrecourse loan guarantees (environmental indemnifications and guarantees against fraud and misrepresentation, including springing guarantees of partnership debt in the event of a voluntary bankruptcy of the partnership). The maximum amount we could be required to pay under the guarantees is approximately $65 million. We are entitled to recover 20% of any amounts paid under the guarantees from an affiliate of the general partner pursuant to an indemnity agreement so long as we continue to manage the properties. In the event that we no longer manage the properties, the percentage that we are entitled to recover is increased to 80%. Management estimates that the aggregate fair value of the guarantees is not material and would not exceed the amounts included in distributions received in excess of investment in unconsolidated real estate joint venture reported on the consolidated balance sheets.
We are party to a contribution agreement that formed a joint venture relationship with a limited partnership to develop up to 1.8 million square feet of office space on 63 acres of land located in Hanover, Maryland. As we and the joint venture partner agree to proceed with the construction of buildings in the future, our joint venture partner would contribute land into newly-formed entities and we would make cash capital contributions into such entities to fund development and construction activities for which financing is not obtained. We owned a 50% interest in one such joint venture as of June 30, 2011.
We may be required to make our pro rata share of additional investments in our real estate joint ventures (generally based on our percentage ownership) in the event that additional funds are needed. In the event that the other members of these joint ventures do not pay their share of investments when additional funds are needed, we may then deem it appropriate to make even larger investments in these joint ventures.
Tax Incremental Financing Obligation
In August 2010, Anne Arundel County, Maryland issued $30 million in tax incremental financing bonds to third-party investors in order to finance public improvements needed in connection with our project known as National Business Park North. The real estate taxes on increases in assessed value of a development district encompassing National Business Park North are to be transferred to a special fund pledged to the repayment of the bonds. We recognized a $4.2 million liability through June 30, 2011 representing the estimated fair value of our obligation to fund through a special tax any future shortfalls between debt service on the bonds and real estate taxes available to repay the bonds.
Environmental Indemnity Agreement
We agreed to provide certain environmental indemnifications in connection with a lease of three New Jersey properties that we no longer own. The prior owner of the properties, a Fortune 100 company that is responsible for groundwater contamination at such properties, previously agreed to indemnify us for (1) direct losses incurred in connection with the contamination and (2) its failure to perform remediation activities required by the State of New Jersey, up to the point that the state declares the remediation to be complete. Under the lease agreement, we agreed to the following:
· to indemnify the tenant against losses covered under the prior owners indemnity agreement if the prior owner fails to indemnify the tenant for such losses. This indemnification is capped at $5.0 million in perpetuity after the State of New Jersey declares the remediation to be complete;
· to indemnify the tenant for consequential damages (e.g., business interruption) at one of the buildings in perpetuity and another of the buildings for 15 years after the tenants acquisition of the property from us. This indemnification is limited to $12.5 million; and
· to pay 50% of additional costs related to construction and environmental regulatory activities incurred by the tenant as a result of the indemnified environmental condition of the properties. This indemnification is limited to $300,000 annually and $1.5 million in the aggregate.