August 10, 2006

Real Estate in Peril

By Real Estate in Peril

Realtor Magazine has an article about Georgia's recent eminent domain reform. Excerpt:

One Georgia case that caught property rights advocates’ attention was that of Mark and Regina Meeks, owners of a flower shop in Stockbridge. The Meekses’ shop faced the threat of condemnation because it sits in a parcel of land that municipal officials wanted as part of a redevelopment project.

To pave the way for the project, the city had been systematically buying out owners in a 22-acre part of an older business district, but acquisitions stalled at the Meekses. Earlier, the shop owners had received a $750,000 offer for their property from the big retail drug store company Eckerd Corp., which liked the shop’s location fronting a high-traffic street. The city made a lower offer, around $420,000, and at the same time rezoned the property to prohibit the kind of large-scale retail that Eckerd specializes in.

With the property no longer suitable for its needs, Eckerd pulled its offer, leaving the Meekses with a tough choice: either take the city’s offer or fight the attempted takings in court. They fought and won.

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