Hartford Loses Eminent Domain Fight, Ordered to Pay Nearly $3 Million More
Two years ago, the city of Hartford used eminent domain to take private land from a developer to be used for part of its baseball stadium development project. For that land, the city paid $1.98 million. But now, a state court judge has ruled that the figure wasn’t nearly enough.
In a ruling released Monday, Judge Constance Epstein ruled that the city owes that developer an additional roughly $3 million for the land, raising the total price to $4.81 million -- a heftier price tag for a city in dire financial straits. Epstein noted that the ballpark wasn't taken into consideration, and it should have been.
“The most astounding shortcoming of both of the City’s appraising experts is that neither of them took into account the announcement of the ballpark,” Epstein wrote in her ruling.
The project was the brainchild of former Mayor Pedro Segarra and the parcel in question is across the street from the stadium and is intended to be used as part of a mixed-use development built by the original developers, Centerplan Companies. Bart Halloran, the attorney for the plaintiff, CBV Parking Hartford, LLC, said his client was pleased.
“The great failing in the city’s appraisals was that they just simply refused to acknowledge that a ballpark was being built across the street and that dramatically raised the value of the property,” Halloran said.
Halloran added that his client didn’t just own the property. He had plans to develop it.
“So, to take it away from him and give it to another developer...the process used by the previous administration was, to put it charitably, flawed,” he said.
This only adds to the problems that have plagued the stadium since its inception under Segarra. The project missed the entire inaugural season of the Hartford Yard Goats, is over budget, and is only recently under construction again with a new contractor. Nevertheless, the plan is to still play ball in April.
A lawyer for Mayor Luke Bronin said it is reviewing the ruling and is contemplating an appeal.