Last week we blogged about the Penn Station expansion plans by Governor Cuomo and the possibility of eminent domain proceedings taking place to make it happen. Our very own Philip A. Sanchez was interviewed on Fox5 News as saying, “This is entirely possible -- and the governor is completely within his right to do that.” And that “(…Eminent domain is) The one power that the government has that people don’t realize how awesome it really is.”
One of the first publicly reported challenges to Governor Cuomo’s plan is the reported comment, in Crain’s and The Real Deal, that the landlord of Penn Station has “no intention of selling.” As we are well aware, the Governor has eminent domain “in his back pocket” and is well within his rights to use it.
The property owner of the 17-story office building at 259 West 30th Street, Michael Orbach, is reportedly angry about the Governor’s proposal. “We are long-term property owners with no intention of selling.”
While this may seem like a new initiative for the Governor, the truth is that it is not. There have been talks over the years about an expansion, but the early-January 2020 announcement took some property owners by surprise. The announcement included the possible usage of eminent domain.
“We were never notified in writing of the state’s intentions prior to the announcement, so we really do not know what the scope of this project is,” Orbach said. “While we appreciate the need to expand Penn Station and appreciate the governor’s intentions here, we have seen the state’s use of the eminent domain process in the past at the New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue and it was not handled in a fair way for the small property owners involved.”
According to The Real Deal, 51 properties bordered by Seventh and Eighth avenues and West 30th and West 31st streets revealed that Cuomo’s office had not contacted them as of yet. Of course, the governor’s office said it wants to acquire private property through friendly negotiations. Condemnation is often expensive and a lengthy process.
As always, we remind our readers that eminent domain is not the end, but can be a new beginning for many property and business owners. Affected condemnees have the right to sue the government for additional compensation, over and above what the government initially pays in eminent domain. Our firm has successfully represented many condemnees in similar situations and obtained favorable results. Of course past accomplishments cannot guarantee future outcomes, but it is important to choose the right lawyer to represent you when facing eminent domain.
We will continue to follow this story and keep you posted!