Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So, it begins: Eminent domain in Brooklyn Center.

I like this article, Eminent Domain Ruling Emboldens City Governments
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision on eminent domain is just days old and already it's being called upon to backup action already underway in the Twin Cities.

The city of Brooklyn Center is bulldozing the 'Hmong American Shopping Center' to make room for something more profitable.

The center's owners say it reminds them of the communism they left behind. But supporters say they have a better use for the land.

The attorney for Brooklyn Center, Marc Manderscheid says, this is not a David-and-Goliath story.

"In this case in Brooklyn Center, the shopping center was blighted. The Hennepin County District Court found that it was obsolete and had a negative and blighting influence on the neighborhood."

The city plans on leveling the mall, then taking public bids on who will develop the site, which may or may not involve Dan Vang and his father in law.

"They have the right to bid along with any other company to become the developer for the redevelopment of this shopping center," said Manderscheid about Vang.


Well, how much to I want to f___ with city hall?

Update, from the Hmong Times:
In the year 2000 Mr. Lee [Mr. Vang's aforementioned father-in-law] purchased the run down Northbrook Shopping Center for 2.5 million dollars. With his investment of an additional 2 million dollars and hard work he turned the failing, 70 percent vacant shopping center into a thriving business. Mr. Lee’s three businesses, Asian Supermarket, King Laundry, and Asia Fabric and Fashion brought in a 300 percent growth in business. The Asia Supermarket itself generated 4 million dollars annually. Mr. Lee's success with the Hmong American Shopping Center generated so much profit that he was able to open a second Asian Supermarket in Saint Paul at 400 Western Avenue (He also owns two Asia Supermarkets in California).

After two years of successful business in Brooklyn Center, Mr. Lee partnered with the City of Brooklyn Center EDA (Economic Development Authority) to turn his property into a "Smart Growth Twin Cities" site. [ed. note: that was your first mistake] Mr. Lee and Dan Vang worked closely with the EDA and followed their suggestions and leads, but after two years of developing, redeveloping, market studies, consideration of a new location, market studies again, redevelopment again, and consideration of another new location Mr. Lee and Dan Vang were pushed back into their previous property because they were unable to work with one of the developers provided by the City Manager of Brooklyn Center.

So, here's what our beloved town is up to (18 page pdf, with pictures). To summarize, the part involving the Hmong-American Shopping Center is just a tiny part. On that first picture, it's the area designated "Future Development" on the lower right. Interesting that it's the first piece taken.

They like the Target and Best Buy better, I guess. Blight? Well, their parking lot needed a lot of work, and there were a couple empty shops, but it wasn't exactly a hotbed of crime that I noticed.

It'll do wonders for our property values, I'm sure.

Oh, Msrs. Vang and Lee are getting $3.6 mil. They want 4.1. I don't think that argument will make it to the Supreme Court.

Oops! I appear to have been misinformed. From The Star Tribune:
The title to the land was transferred to Brooklyn Center in April, and Lee has collected the $3 million, city-appraised price for the land that he hoped to sell for $4.6 million. "All we're asking for is fairness," Vang said. "If you own a $500,000 house and they give you $300,000 and say: 'Well, we've given you something, you should be happy,' that's not fair. Mr. Lee wants his land back and the opportunity to do something on it."

That gets us back into the "hmm" range.

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