Time short for Dillard’s to appeal
The Dillard’s (NYSE: DDS) store stands in the way of a planned $85 million redevelopment of the Twin Peaks Mall site, since the company owns the building and surrounding land and has veto power over any redevelopment. Boulder District Court Judge D.D. Mallard ruled Aug. 26 that Longmont officials can take title to the Longmont store.
At the same time, city officials may get immediate possession of the store as soon as a three-person board of commissioners decides a preliminary compensation amount in the case, based on court documents. Dillard’s attorney Leslie Field has declined to comment on the case, as have Longmont Urban Renewal Authority attorneys.
Eminent domain is the legal right for a public entity – in this case, Longmont city officials – to take a property after compensating the owner.
On Sept. 5, Mallard ruled against a request for an indefinite delay to the case made by Dillard’s attorneys. By law, attorneys have a 20-day window to file an appeal.
The new Village at the Peaks shopping center is slated to open in early 2015 on the former Twin Peaks site on Hover Street north of the Diagonal Highway. A 100,000-square-foot Sam's Club, a 30,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFM) grocery store and a movie theater have signed on to anchor Village at the Peaks.
The three-person board may set a preliminary compensation amount in the case, after Mallard asked each side to name three nominees to the board, based on court documents. A jury trial requested by Dillard’s attorneys also may be held the week of Dec. 16 to set the final price, based on court documents. Juries often award higher amounts in eminent-domain cases than judges or three-person boards would, legal experts say.
City officials offered to purchase the Dillard's property for $3.6 million earlier this year, but Dillard’s has requested $5 million. An appraisal done by the city in November valued the property at $3.03 million.
No new court dates had been set in the case as of Sept. 10, according to a Boulder District Court clerk.
Once a price has been set, Twin Peaks Mall owner NewMark Merrill Mountain States plans to pay for the store and get reimbursed by city officials, according to Allen Ginsborg, managing partner of NewMark Merrill.
City officials would reimburse NewMark Merrill through a $27.5 million public financing package approved to help pay for infrastructure in the redevelopment project. The Dillard’s purchase is an “eligible cost,” for the infrastructure improvements, Ginsborg has said. By state law, eligible costs can include things such as demolition and public improvements.
An urban renewal funding mechanism called “tax increment financing,” is expected to be used to pay for the public financing package. Such TIF funds come from the increased property and sales tax revenues generated from a redevelopment project.
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