City Seizing Land for Hillsdale Connector

City Council has voted 3-1 to seize land next to Kmart to build the Hillsdale Connector, Graham Moomaw reports for the Progress, though they’d be seizing the land from a developer who wants it to be seized.

It was six years ago when Council approved the construction of the local-traffic-only road to parallel Route 29, and three years ago when it emerged that the road wouldn’t happen until 2014, at the earliest. Two years ago Regal announced that their four-screen theater behind Kmart would become a nine-screen, stadium-seating theater, something that there has been no apparent progress on, and that some folks speculated might have really been intended to ratchet up the value of the land in case things came to eminent domain proceedings.

What the city wants is that new, little road that’s between Kmart and the under-construction Whole Foods, so that they can run it past Kmart and through Seminole Square. That’s a total of an acre and a half. The developer who owns the land agreed to build the road to state standards, be reimbursed by the city, and then turn it over to the city, which would turn it into the Hillsdale Connector. But Kmart sued the developer, saying that they’ve leased the land and the developer doesn’t get to sell it. The city’s planned eminent domain proceedings are presumably intended to accelerate the process, either by “seizing” it (from a willing party—the developer) to obviate the lawsuit, or to persuade Kmart to drop their suit and make eminent domain unnecessary.

Councilor Holly Edwards was the lone dissenting vote; Mayor Dave Norris did not vote, because he is out of the country on city business.

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