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|Subject: Eminent Domain and UofM||Date: 4/21/2013 10:20 PM|
|Author: Colovion||Number: 678715 of 856866|
So here's the deal:
Charlie Munger (he of Berkshire Hathaway) has donated $110 million to the University of Michigan for a Graduate Student in residence program of some sort (I'm sure you can google it if you're dying of curiosity, I'm not). What this means is a new residence hall needs to go up somewhere. UofM has been buying up property west of Central Campus along Division street (they recently bought the building Blimpy Burger is in for those familiar with the area). So it makes sense that this is where they want to build the new residence hall.
Except one guy isn't selling his two houses full of rental units. What's the U to do? Go to court and claim imminent domain. It's a public University and a residence hall is the type of public use that courts generally agree to, so the U will likely win.
Some Townies aren't happy though. This would be two more parcels coming off the tax rolls.
I'm not too heartbroken over this. The houses are your average student crap houses, nothing worth mourning if they were to go away. The tax roll loss is a gripe worth acknowledging, but overblown in that it's a small hit and the U brings in billions of dollars of economic activity to the city each year so it isn't like the city doesn't benefit greatly in other ways. This also isn't a case of the state taking away property to give it to a private business that ends up doing nothing with it (like the infamous Kelo case$ the U WILL build the hall, a lot of people will live there and many of them will pay for overpriced food in the 1,000 restaurants within walking distance (a slight exaggeration, perhaps) so it's easy to argue the city will gain from this. The city could sell two of their 157 parks (not an exaggeration!) if they really want to keep their tax base whole.
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