Real Estate - Commercial

Future Road Work Starting To Affect Market St. Properties

By Cece Nunn, posted Feb 24, 2017
Some owners in the Wilmington area on Market Street whose property lies in the path of a road improvement project are facing the issue of eminent domain.

The N.C. Department of Transportation is currently conducting right-of-way acquisitions for the project on Market from Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to Station Road and Lendire Road to Marsh Oaks Drive. The portion of the work that will involved Colonial Drive to the MLK Jr. Parkway is under design, according to DOT officials.

Some attorneys say property owners in the path of road projects might not realize they could receive more than the DOT offers for the impact such projects can have.

Stephanie and George Autry of law firm Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog represented the owner of a Market Street storage business property on Market Street that is in the path of the Military Cutoff Road extension project. The condemnation case was settled with the DOT about three months ago for $5.35 million, after the DOT had offered in excess of $4 million. 

Stephanie Autry said the settlement was the second largest condemnation award in the state last year, the sixth biggest of any kind in a civil suit in the state in 2016. The DOT also conveyed two remnant pieces of property to 6947 Market St. owner James Street, Autry said.

Former N.C. DOT attorneys Jason Campbell and Stan Abrams, of the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm, were set to hold a seminar Thursday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn at Mayfaire Town Center on the issue.

"In the coming weeks and months, property and business owners will receive official looking offers from the government. Many may think these offers are non-negotiable," Abrams said in a news release. "But just like any other offer from a buyer, they certainly are negotiable. What we've learned from having been on the other side of the negotiating table is that the N.C. DOT will sometimes stop negotiating even when it is obvious the property is worth more. Just because they stop it, doesn't mean property owners should."

Of their reasons for holding a seminar, Abrams said this week, "For the most part, this is like a one-time thing that happens to somebody, and they just don't really have any idea about how it all works or they're afraid about certain things and don't know what their rights are."

While construction is expected to begin on the Military Cutoff Road extension project late this year, the Market Street project, which will involve the installation of medians, from MLK Jr. Parkway to Station Road and from Lendire Road to Marsh Oaks Drive have let dates (when they will be available for bidding) in the fall of 2018, according to DOT officials. The Colonial Drive to MLK Jr. Parkway has a let date for construction in late 2020.

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