Eminent Domain: Philadelphia Officials Seize Man's Property To Build High-End Shopping Area

Tara Dodrill

Philadelphia city officials used eminent domain statutes to seize an art studio owned by James Dupree in order to convert the block into a high-end shopping venue. The 64-year-old painter and muralist poured thousands of dollars into former horse stable to convert the structure into a usable building before the city government initiated proceedings to strip him of his property rights.

James Dupree had this to say about the City of Philadelphia eminent domain proceedings:

"It started right after I purchased the building. They had called this area a blight several years ago, but didn't move on it until 2005. It's nothing more than a land grab. And the kicker is the developer who was going to build the shopping area backed out of the deal."

"I think there are more cases and as a result, more publicity about them. There's more land taken for the upgrading of infrastructure like bridges and roads and a lack of land for development. But whatever the reason, it's a hot button issue with people and creates a negative feeling about government."

Some states have passed or are debating legislation designed to curb the powers of governmental entities to strip Americans of their property rights. Many of the pending and approved bills would make it illegal to land grab simply for the purpose of economic development. Despite the eminent domain laws which many believe is a step in the right direction, the mandates must still curtail to federal laws which allow the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C. to continue using eminent domain more freely as allowed under the 2005 Kelo ruling.

What do you think about eminent domain laws being invoked for the purpose of economic development?

[Image Via: Shutterstock.com]