Condemnation & Land Use attorney, Susanne Todd, authored a guide to help others better understand the condemnation process. Click here to read the guide.
NCDOT Pays Property Owners $15 Million for Car Dealership on Independence Boulevard, Charlotte, NC.
Clients Nic and Natasha Stepanov immigrated to the United States over 23 years ago to pursue the American Dream. They worked hard and spent years searching several states for the perfect location to build a luxury, pre-owned car dealership. The property at 5809 East Independence Boulevard had everything they wanted: visibility, plenty of access and was close to other car dealerships. The Stepanovs bought the property and celebrated the Grand Opening of Charlotte Auto Collections in 2008.
3 years later, NCDOT condemned part of the Stepanov's property that included half of the 100,000 SF car dealership for the Independence Road Widening project. NCDOT intended to demolish half of the building and deposited $7.8 million as just compensation for the portion of the land and building taken. A week after filing the condemnation action, NCDOT ordered the Stepanovs to turn in the keys to the car dealership and vacate their property for the duration of the road construction project.
Most of the deposit money went to pay off the property's loan. Unable to use their remaining property and without enough money to rebuild their dealership elsewhere, the Stepanovs were forced to place their business equipment in storage and, in August of 2011, close Charlotte Auto Collections' doors.
Bob Burchette and Susanne Todd represented the Stepanovs against the NCDOT and obtained an additional $7.2 million over the deposit amount for a total settlement of $15 million. "We are very pleased with the result for Mr. and Ms. Stepanov. We assembled a team that was committed to not only making sure the Stepanovs received just compensation for their damages, but also to ensuring that the Stepanovs received the best treatment and terms throughout the process" says Susanne Todd.
Industrial Property Taking Along Rail Corridor Settles for an Additional $1.2 Million Due to Different Highest & Best Use
Granted, it wasn't much to look at. Located next to a CSX railroad corridor, the 3 acre industrial zoned tract was a former cold storage facility. Abandoned by all but the homeless, the warehouses suffered from neglect and repeated vandalism. But the property was also located within the I-77 Belt Loop, near the Music Factory and offered stunning views of the Charlotte skyline in an area of ever increasing multi-family and multi-use projects. In March of 2008, clients Will Dellinger and Jeremy Rozsak purchased the property for $300,000, intending to hold it for future development.
Their plans changed in 2010 when DOT condemned the property as part of the City's Inter-Modal Transit Station project. Valuing the property based on its current use, the DOT offered $562,500. Susanne Todd and Trey Lindley argued that the property should be valued based not on its current use, but on its highest and best use, and were successful in obtaining a settlement of $1.8 million for their clients.
City Agrees to Modify Blue Line Construction Plans to Save Drive Thru.
Sometimes small takings can cause big problems. The City's Blue Line project is impacting numerous properties between uptown Charlotte and UNCC. Although the City often only needs a few feet off the front, the taking can cause big problems for the rest of the property. A national fast food restaurant recently contacted us about the impact that a retaining wall at the end of the drive thru aisle would have on its business. The City of Charlotte was planning to construct the retaining wall as part of the Blue Line project. Working with an engineer, we met with City staff and were able to convince them to modify their plans and move the retaining wall away from the drive thru.