Eminent Domain

Indiana Judge Allows Seizure of a Print Shop To Build a Hotel

Eminent domain, not so reformed


An Indiana judge has ruled that Ball State University can proceed to use eminent domain against a print shop in Muncie, Ind. As the Castle Coalition reported back in September 2012, Hiatt Printing, a family-owned business of 40 years, would be seized in order to build a $25.9 million hotel, dorm and conference center on the BSU campus.

If built, the 100,000 square foot McKinley Commons would house 51 students but also act as a hotel with 112 guest rooms, complete with "front desk, lobby area and food service." BSU argues this would act as a "hands-on facility" to benefit hospitality majors. To justify seizing a thriving print shop, Ball State claims it's necessary to use eminent domain for this project, since the university doesn't have that many hotel rooms.

Unfortunately for the Hiatts, Circuit Court 5 Judge Thomas Cannon, Jr. agreed. Even though this complex would act as a hotel and would lease space to commercial tenants, Ball State's authorization of eminent domain was ruled an acceptable public use.