Great news out of Nashville, Tennessee as the city's Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency agrees to drop eminent domain proceedings against Country International Records owner Joy Ford. At issue was Ford's refusal to sell her land to a private developer, which wanted to erect a new office building where Joy's record label and music publishing business now stands.
As happens all too often in such cases, once it became clear to local authorities that Joy wasn't selling, they decided to simply seize what they wanted via eminent domain, prompting the fine folks at the Institute for Justice to get involved on Joy's behalf. Yesterday, the two sides reached an agreement that takes eminent domain off the table. From The Tennessean:
Neither Ford nor [developer] Lionstone will receive any money in the settlement. Ford will, however, end up with slightly more land than she now owns, and more of it will front Music Circle East, where it can be accessed easily.
The pact will let Lionstone build a 225,000-square-foot office building with ground-floor retail on land surrounding Ford's property. The firm has already lined up two tenants, which will take up about 60 percent of the building, and it is in talks with banks for a construction loan, [Lionstone representative Doug] McKinnon said.
The trade will force Lionstone to redesign the tower's parking garage, but the firm has already asked its architect, Nashville-based Earl Swensson Associates, to come up with a new plan. Lionstone hopes to have those plans in place and start construction by the end of this year.
"This is an example of private parties' sitting down and coming together," said Scott Bullock, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, an Arlington, Va.-based firm that represented Ford. "The lesson here is that government does not need eminent domain to promote redevelopment."