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Domain Pain

In July, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against the seizure of three private properties in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood to allow for the creation of the Rookwood Exchange, a mixed-use project. The decision echoed the rulings of 28 other state legislatures that have opposed the use of eminent domain.

Plans for the proposed Norwood development, a project of Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate, called for the creation of 400,000 square feet of office space, 275,000 square feet of retail, 275 apartment units and a 2,000-car garage. When completed, the Rookwood Exchange was expected to generate up to $2 million in annual revenues for the city of Norwood, which has been struggling with a dwindling population and multi-million dollar debts.

Jeffrey R. Anderson was on the verge of sealing the deal — almost all of the 70 homeowners located on the site agreed to sell their properties — but was blocked by the three remaining holdouts. Now that the Court has ruled in favor of the homeowners, the fate of the Rookwood Exchange in unclear.

Two of the properties are located on the outskirts of the proposed development site, so it would be possible to build around them. The third, however, sits in the middle of the site and would have to be razed for the development to go forward. But since the building is actually a rental property rather than a private home there is a possibility the owner might be tempted by a higher buyout offer.

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