A shopping center in Charlotte received one of the largest eminent domain settlements in the history of the N.C. Department of Transportation, according to North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly.
“Eminent domain” refers to the power of the government to seize privately owned land provided they pay a fair market value for the property.
The DOT was ordered to pay the Independence Shopping Center $22.5 million after the Independence Boulevard expressway project caused the center to lose both money and tenants.
Attorneys for the shopping center demonstrated how the roadway construction caused the center to lose four of its five access points, causing significant loss of business and the departure of several “anchor” tenants, large stores that bring in the majority of the shopping center’s traffic. The DOT also seized several sections of land that had been home to stand alone businesses, including a McDonald’s. The owner of the shopping center now plans to raze the center and redevelop the land.
The DOT originally offered $16.8 million for the land, $10.2 million less than the land owner’s appraiser had valued the land.
After the mediation was complete, attorneys for the shopping center said that the settlement illustrated “the consequences of making a public policy decision to change an entire vibrant business corridor, not just for the property owners but for the DOT and their pocketbook as well.”