For years, Cathedral City has been acquiring property by eminent domain as part of its 23-acre Eastside Downtown Area redevelopment plan, which seeks to redevelop downtown Cathedral City into a 39-unit commercial center. Our firm has also been involved in the project for years, having assisted several property owners impacted by the redevelopment agency's plans.
According to a January 26 Desert Sun article, "Cathedral City council votes to pay $535,000 in eminent domain land deal," Cathedral City recently approved a $535,000 settlement with one of the final remaining landowners whose property is being condemned (the property consists of two parcels housing an apartment complex). Two eminent domain actions remain pending.
While Cathedral City has been busily acquiring property for several years, anyone looking forward to the new redevelopment project should not get too excited. Many redevelopment agencies are facing budget issues, and Cathedral City is no different. According to the article:
The city is a long way from seeing the 23-acre project planned for the area come to fruition because of an $11.45 million loss of redevelopment funds to the state to help balance the state budget . . . .
Despite the fact that no actual redevelopment is imminent, the City apparently intends to evict tenants from the recently acquired apartment building. This is unusual, as condemning agencies routinely allow tenants to remain on acquired property until construction is ready to proceed.
If the City does evict the tenants now, it will have to pay them relocation assistance, but that will likely be of little comfort to some, including "the owner's 93-year-old mother, who's lived at the same apartment for 35 years." One can only wonder how the public interest would be served by evicting a 93-year old woman so that her apartment of 35 years can sit vacant while the City waits for funds to move forward with its project . . . someday.
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