Eminent Domain Case Study: Parking Lot in Chicago

The City of Chicago filed a case to condemn 42,360 square feet or approximately one acre of land at the corner of Wabash and Harrison, one block south of Congress Parkway in Chicago, Illinois.  The property was being used as an at–grade asphalt commercial parking lot.  The City of Chicago had the property appraised and offered $3,000,000 for the entire property.  The City’s proposed use for the property was to construct a City–owned college dormitory.  Ryan & Ryan was told that the City had changed its mind and was going to transfer the entire property to the Chicago Transit Authority (“CTA”) which was going to build an elevated train structure through the property to straighten out the “S” curve at Wabash and Harrison Streets.  The City of Chicago and the CTA both passed ordinances to conduct a quick–take hearing to immediately acquire title to the property.  Ryan & Ryan challenged the City’s and the CTA’s need to acquire the whole property for this new purpose.
At the conclusion of the evidence, the Court agreed with us and indicated to the City and the CTA that it was not necessary to acquire the whole property to construct a new elevated train line through the property.  Ryan & Ryan settled the case by giving the CTA an easement through the property, over an area 48 feet by 250 feet, to construct the elevated train line.  The owners received $7,000,000 and were allowed to keep all of their property and park under the elevated train after it was constructed.  The owners also will be able to build under and over the train in the future if the owners decide to construct any building on the property.Our client was so pleased with the result that he agreed to double the attorneys’ fees provided in our contract.
empty parking lot with clouds overhead

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In providing this information concerning other eminent domain matters handled by the firm it must be understood that neither the firm, nor any member of the firm, is suggesting that the results obtained in other eminent domain matters can also be achieved in your case. The outcome of any particular case will be controlled by many factors, including the specific facts and issues of law presented in that case. It should not be assumed from, nor do we intend to imply by the information supplied, that the results obtained in prior eminent domain matters can also be obtained in your particular case. If you have any questions concerning the contents of this statement, please contact our office prior to signing any agreement to retain the services of this law firm.

Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the power to take any property for public use without the owner’s consent in exchange for the payment of just compensation.

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Condemnation is the process whereby your property is taken by the government against your will for a public project or the "public good."

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