Real estate developers and city officials have reached an agreement with the largest remaining Tempe business refusing to sell its property to make way for a $200 million shopping center.
After nearly three years of negotiations, Arizona Castings Inc. agreed to sell its five-acre site to Miravista Holdings and Vestar Development Co. for an undisclosed amount.
Terms of the deal were not released, but developers agreed to pay for Arizona Castings — which employs about 70 people — to relocate to Maricopa.
Jim Braselton, an attorney representing Tempe and the developers, said he is negotiating with other property owners, but would not reveal who they are.
On Tuesday, opening arguments will begin in an eminent domain case between the city and 13 remaining property owners standing in the way of the planned Tempe Marketplace.
The city will argue that taking the land, which sits on a former Environmental Protection Agency Super Fund Site, will provide a public benefit by cleaning the site before construction begins.
The property owners, however, say condemning their land is illegal because Arizona law prohibits municipalities from taking private property for strictly economic development.
If the judge allows Tempe to condemn properties, the city is contractually obligated to give the property to the developers.
The Wednesday announcement comes one day after a Maricopa County Superior Court judge rejected motions by the property owners to kill the city’s attempt to condemn their property.
The property owners accused the city of violating a 1997 annexation agreement that brought nearly 200 acres of then-county land under the city’s jurisdiction, according to court records.
They claim the city never delivered on its promise to invest $900,000 in the area to pave streets, build sewer lines and make other infrastructure improvements.