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Landowner settles for parking spots, $650K


A property owner in Charlotte will be allowed to continue using parking spaces, while receiving $650,000 from the City of Charlotte in exchange for a narrow strip of land, thanks to an April settlement to an eminent domain case.

The property was owned by 8600 Charlotte Properties and leased to Walgreens. Their attorney, Jason Campbell of North Carolina Eminent Domain Law Firm in Durham said the property is prime real estate, due to its location at the intersection of two heavily trafficked thoroughfares.

Located across from a hospital, Campbell claims the Walgreens is one of the more successful locations for the franchise in the country.

“It’s a very busy intersection,” Campbell said in an interview. “The city’s position was … we haven’t impacted the value of your property, but that doesn’t make sense. You can’t take a third of an acre and it have no effect on the Walgreens that’s sitting there.”

In March 2013, the city took a 0.35 acre strip of land along the pharmacy’s main roadway in order to extend a mass transit train rail. In effect, the city took a 40-foot-strip of landscaping, which is required by a city zoning law, and 15 parking spaces from the store.

Shortly thereafter, 8600 Properties and Walgreens requested a trial to determine just compensation and to work through several issues created by the taking, including what would become of the parking spaces.

One of the issues was that in losing the landscaped space in front of the business, 8600 Properties became in violation of the city’s zoning ordinance. The taking also led to the loss of 15 parking spaces, with the potential for other issues relating to drive aisles, the placement of the pharmacy’s drive-thru lane, and other parking spots, were the city to require the property owner to replace the landscaping.

Defense attorneys also claimed that the resulting non-conforming property might cost the landowner, were it to lead Walgreens to leave or threaten to leave in exchange for rent concessions.

“If the tenant left, we could have been stuck having to find a new tenant,” Campbell said. “We were afraid they’d say, if you don’t give a rent concession, we’ll leave.”

Ultimately, through the process of discovery, a hearing and negotiations, the two sides turned to mediation. However, no agreement was reached until just before trial, when the city agreed to let the property owner keep the 15 parking spaces. This led to Walgreens agreeing to re-sign to lease the property for another 10 years.

In addition, city appraisers re-examined the property’s value and came up from their initial offer of $18 per square foot, worth about $267,000. In the end, the city landed on $30 per square foot, and agreed to pay additional fees for loss in property value, bringing the total settlement to $650,000.

The city’s attorney, Keith Nichols, of Horack, Talley, Pharr & Lowndes in Charlotte, did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow Matthew Chaney on Twitter @NCLWChaney


SETTLEMENT REPORT – Eminent domain

Amount: $650,000

Injuries alleged: owner wasn’t properly compensated for land taking; city wasn’t clear about the status of parking, resulting from the taking

Case Name: City of Charlotte v. 8600 Charlotte Properties

Court: Mecklenburg County Superior Court

Case No.: 13-CVS-5535

Mediator: Gary Hemric, of Charlotte

Date of settlement: April 5

Most helpful experts: Damon Bidenscope, appraiser and Theresa Hawkins, land planner

Attorneys for plaintiff: Keith Nichols

Attorneys for defendant: Jason Campbell and Susan Todd

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