Chandler to pay twice as much for land - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Chandler to pay twice as much for land

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Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:09 am | Updated: 1:50 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Chandler will pay about twice as much as it had hoped to settle an eminent domain action against the owners of Lloyd's Complete Auto Supply Co., whose downtown property was condemned last year for a new City Hall.

City: No eminent domain on Washington St.

The $2.3 million settlement with former Lloyd's owners Mike and Mark Pace marks the end of legal wrangling over ownership of the land under the new City Hall. Chandler already has settled with three other area property owners whose holdings the city condemned.

The City Council on Monday unanimously approved the agreement, said Craig Younger, a city spokesman. The sum is closer to the Paces' estimate of the land's value.

City officials had appraised the value of the 45,000-square-foot Lloyd's site at slightly more than $1 million.

Glenn Brockman, an assistant city attorney, said as part of the settlement, the Paces have agreed to waive a claim for lost income resulting from having to sell inventory at reduced prices because of the forced move. Brockman called it a "reasonable compromise."

Doug Martin, the Paces' lawyer, said his clients are pleased with the verdict.

"I believe the city ultimately acted in a responsible fashion. It just took them a while," Martin said.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the settlement, with Councilman Jeff Weninger casting the dissenting vote. Weninger said he opposed condemning downtown businesses for the new city offices from the beginning, and his vote was in line with that position.

Lloyd's had been a longtime downtown Chandler business, passed down from father to sons since the 1950s. The city posted a $2 million bond last year to take immediate possession of the property.

Work on the new $76 million City Hall is expected to be completed in mid-October 2010. The result will be a 120,000-square-foot, five-story, mostly translucent building hovering above the east side of Arizona Avenue, straddling a closed-off and reconfigured Chicago Street.

Chandler's existing City Hall occupies portions of the second and third floors of the privately owned Chandler Office Center, on the southeast corner of Arizona Avenue and Buffalo Street. But that lease expires at the end of next year.

All told, the city had to acquire property from about 10 private landowners for its new headquarters. In four cases, including Lloyd's, the city used eminent domain.

Earlier this year, Chandler paid $450,000 to the owners of an adjacent property formerly occupied by Aztec Wrought Iron. That settlement was about $200,000 more than officials had hoped to pay for the 7,500-square-foot commercial property, city officials have said. Arizona Wrought Iron has relocated to 414 S. Grand in Mesa.

In June 2008, the city reached a $355,000 settlement with Rodriguez Properties, which owned land near Arizona Avenue and Boston Street.

In the fourth case, the city condemned a billboard installation from CBS Outdoors for $135,000, Brockman said.

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