The City of Charlotte has opted to avoid the potential turbulence of a condemnation action and agreed to pay $8.35 million for eight acres of land earmarked for the expansion of Charlotte Douglas International Airport after having initially threatened to condemn the land, the landowners’ attorneys report.
Tommy Odom and David Murray of The Odom Firm in Charlotte report that the city announced in 2017 its intention to acquire two parcels that their client owned, both near the airport’s entrance. At the time, half of the property was used as overflow parking for an offsite airport parking lot, and the other half was vacant. The city offered $2,425,000 for one parcel and $2,067,000 for the other, Odom said.
“They said that they were going to take the property and were going to use eminent domain unless they sold it to them,” Odom said. “We pushed back on that, saying we didn’t think the city had the authority to take it, and they suggested we go to mediation.”
Odom said that experts were able to show that the property was very valuable because of its potential to be developed into 700 parking spaces near the airport.
The case settled at mediation prior to the condemnation action being filed, Odom said. The Charlotte City Council approved the payment on January 27, 2020.
Leila Lahbabi of the City of Charlotte and Becky Cheney of Hamilton Stephens Steele in Charlotte represented the City. Lahbabi referred a request for comment to the City of Charlotte’s communications division.
Injuries Alleged: Taking of eight acres of land
Venue: Mecklenburg County
Mediator: Jason James of Bell, Davis & Pitt in Charlotte, NC
Date of Settlement: January 27, 2020
Initial Offer: $4,491,000
Most Helpful Experts: Deborah Haskell of Winthrop Real Estate Advisors in Columbia, SC (land appraisal) and Lee McLaren of DPR Associates in Charlotte, NC (landscape architecture)
Attorneys for Plaintiff: Tommy Odom and David Murray of The Odom Firm in Charlotte, NC
Attorneys for Defendant: Leila Lahbabi of the City of Charlotte and Becky Cheney of Hamilton Stephens Steele & Martin in Charlotte, NC
February 5, 2020 | nclawyersweekly.com
Reprinted with permission of North Carolina Lawyers Weekly © 2020
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