The demise of redevelopment in California has surely sparked strong emotions from both its supporters and its opponents. And while the wind-down process continues to dominate the headlines, a recent article caught my eye about the tale of a long, hard-fought redevelopment battle -- with a happy ending, for everyone.
If you have a moment, check out a great story in last week's Park La Brea Press, Eminent Domain Didn't Send Bernard's Packing, detailing a property owner's successful fight against redevelopment in Los Angeles. The article provides a current update on a drawn out eminent domain battle between a mom and pop luggage shop in Hollywood who opposed making way for the new W Hotel.
The story begins back in the 1950's, when Bernard's luggage shop began renting the location they ultimately purchased 20 years later. It was a family-owned business, a staple in the community. Then, the owners heard news that their property, along with 31 others, were potentially going to be condemned for a new hotel.
While Suzette Kelo was battling for her property rights on one side of the country, the mom and pop luggage shop owners led a strong grass roots movement of their own to stop the redevelopment acquisitions. Shortly after the Resolution of Necessity hearing, a billboard went up: "Murder on Vine Street: Eminent Domain Kills Small Businesses." Amidst a media frenzy, legal threats, and community complaints, the parties ultimately reached a settlement whereby the W Hotel would be built around the business, with the store reconstructed allowing the developers to install subterranean parking.
Like any happy tale, there must always be bumps in the road. In this case, unfortunately, the battle was quite taxing on the family, and the luggage shop is no longer in business. However, the family continues to own the property, and it apparently has some high hopes for a bright future. Store owner Bob Blue hopes to have a restaurant tenant within the year, and hopefully an eatery to complement Hollywood's history.
California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain in California. We cover all aspects of eminent domain in California, including condemnation, inverse condemnation, and regulatory takings. We also keep track of current cases, project announcements, budget issues, legislative reform efforts, and report on all major California eminent domain conferences and seminars.