Eminent domain is the power through which the government can take private property for a public purpose, so long as it provides the property owner with “just compensation.” At its most basic level, one can think of the exercise of eminent domain (called a condemnation action) as a forced sale of property.

Not every condemnation action, however, takes all or even any of a landowner’s property. Sometimes, the government may only need part of a front yard to expand a street, or an improvement project may reduce the ability to use a piece of property in a way that affects its value.

Commercial Properties Can Make Condemnation Actions Complicated

Eminent domain cases involving commercial properties can prove much more complicated compared to residential properties. Commercial properties generally generate income, meaning that landowners’ concerns go beyond making a parcel of land smaller or simply compensating a homeowner for the value of a home or a reduction in the size of a property.

Because eminent domain law is different in every state, one jurisdiction may recognize certain losses as compensable while another jurisdiction may not. That said, here are some concerns that arise in eminent domain actions involving commercial properties that are not generally at issue in cases involving residential properties.

  • Losses due to an interruption in business – A road improvement project that makes it more difficult to get to a business for a significant period of time may result in a considerable interruption in business. That has the potential to result in a long-term loss as customers or clients seek out alternatives.
  • Lost profits – A forced relocation may result in lost profits in the future due to lower business volume. People in your new neighborhood may not be familiar with your store, and your old customers may not know how to find you or they may start visiting a more conveniently located competitor.
  • Signs – Certain eminent domain projects may affect existing signs, forcing you to take yours down or move it to a less conspicuous location. In some cases, you may not reinstall nonconforming signs that were “grandfathered-in” under regulations that are no longer in effect.
  • Easements that take away parking – An easement allowing utility access to part of a property for service and maintenance may seem relatively innocuous—but if it substantially hurts your customers’ ability to park, it may damage your business.

Call Sever Storey Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Eminent Domain Lawyer

If you are a business owner who believes a government project involving eminent domain may take or damage your property, speak to an attorney as soon as you can. An eminent domain attorney may negotiate a solution that avoids the most significant impacts to your business. Call or contact Sever Storey today to schedule a completely free consultation with one of our lawyers at (888) 318-3761.