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City of Laguna Woods to Pay $6.4 Million for Taking of City Hall Building, 8/13/10

By A.J. Hazarabedian

The city of Laguna Woods will have to pay $6.43 million to acquire the property where City Hall sits.

The Orange County Register reported in their article, Laguna Woods must pay $6.4 million to take City Hall,” that the amount was “$2.78 million more than [the city] had offered for the two-story facility, the parcel on which it sits and the space needed for parking.”

Eminent domain proceedings began in 2005 and an Orange County Superior Court jury made their decision this week.  Per the article, “the city argued there was no value to the right to use parking in the shopping center, and that the city acquiring the City Hall building did not affect the value of the property.”  Raintree Realty, the property owner, argued that the value of the property decreased once the city took over the commercial site, which was once home to a Citibank branch.

The city must pay Raintree Realty $6.43 million plus additional interest for the property.

This is a great example of the results that challenging the government’s valuation with proper representation can achieve in an eminent domain matter.  The owner was able to obtain compensation of approximately 75% more than the government’s offer.  Property owners facing eminent domain should take note: you can fight City Hall!

Glendale Seeks to Extend Eminent Domain Authority, 8/11/10

By A.J. Hazarabedian

It looks like the city of Glendale will be using eminent domain to acquire the property currently occupied by the Museum of Neon Art at 212 S. Brand Blvd.

The Glendale News Press reported that the city council plans on extending their eminent domain authority “as officials remain locked in negotiations for a key piece of property on Brand Boulevard.”

Negotiations have been ongoing since November of 2009 and the city and property owner have yet to come to a resolution.

According to the article, City sets to extend eminent domain,” the need for eminent domain has been rare, as agreements are usually reached with the owners prior to initiating court proceedings.

The article may be overstating its case.  While many cases do settle without going to litigation, eminent domain is hardly “rare.”  Hundreds of eminent domain cases are filed every year because property owners recognize that accepting the government’s offer may not be the best course of action in their particular situation.

COPYRIGHT © 2010 Arthur J. Hazarabedian, Esq.