Alicia Colon of the New York Sun has an article here about one of the big problems with eminent domain being used for "economic development": such schemes often destroy just those things that make a city unique and special:
The New York City that I grew up with and loved is dying. The new version may be glossier, cleaner, and MTVhip, but in my opinion it’s just California Lite — without the sunshine…
Last year, I wrote about the businesses in the Bronx Terminal Market facing eviction to make way for the Gateway Center, a project that was part of a sweetheart deal hatched without requests for public proposals or competitive bidding. Now, neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn are being dismantled and thousands of employees of the small businesses there face the loss of their jobs….
One of the businesses facing eviction is the House of Spices, a family-owned business since 1970 with more than 100 employees, many of them living in close proximity to work. Its vice president, Neil Soni, asks, "Who created the blight? The city will not provide adequate services here…. After neglecting the area for so long, they now call it a blight."
Dan Feinstein of Feinstein Iron Works, another endangered business, said, "We are part of an active business district and we refuse to be steamrolled by the city on the grounds that no economic engines exist here. Why is the city bullying small businesses?"
…As I ride the no. 1 bus uptown, I pass the storefronts of quaint small businesses ranging from palm readers to shoe repair shops. I can't help feeling they're all doomed to make way for our new, improved metropolis.