In April 2017, the City of Greensboro took by condemnation strips of land for right-of-way, permanent slope easements, and temporary construction easements along the entire road frontages of the Westridge Square Shopping Center, at the intersection of Battleground Avenue and Westridge Road. At the time of taking, the Shopping Center contained approximately 215,200 rentable square feet and was 100% leased and occupied. The Shopping Center includes an interior “ring” road that serves both the internal Shopping Center and its eight retail outparcels.
The City’s deposit – the amount it estimated to be the fair market value of the taking – was $460,000. The Shopping Center, however, believed the impact of the taking had a far more significant negative impact on the property, and, as a result, was forced to litigate the dispute.
The condemnation lawsuit went to trial on April 1, 2019 in Guilford County Superior Court. At trial, the Shopping Center’s attorneys, Scott Jacobson from the Holt, Ney, Zatcoff & Wasserman, P.A. firm in Atlanta, and Manning Fulton attorney, Judson A. Welborn, with assistance from a team of expert witnesses (including certified appraisers and a traffic engineer), introduced evidence that as a direct result of the City’s taking, interior circulation at the Shopping Center was severely and permanently impaired, the outparcels suffered some degree of property loss and diminishment in value, and the public road ingress and egress driveways serving the Shopping Center and its outparcels were – and would remain – severely curtailed. The City’s experts disagreed, arguing that the taking had virtually no impact on the remainder of the Shopping Center property.
After a trial that lasted a week and a half, the jury ordered the City to pay the Shopping Center damages of $1.25 million as “just compensation” for the land taken and for the damage to the remaining property. In addition, the City of Greensboro was ordered to pay the Shopping Center interest on the judgment in the amount of $101,682.73. Finally, the Court ordered the City of Greensboro to reimburse the Shopping Center an additional $63,608.51 in expert-related cost, bringing the total recovery to $1,415,291.24.
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