Often when a city starts talking about using eminent domain powers to seize private property, the owners of that property claim they’re being cheated.
But in Allentown, Pa., questions are being raised over whether the city actually paid too much for a string of business buildings in the push to clear out owners and build a new hockey arena.
In order to plow ahead with the planned $160 million multi-purpose complex, the city paid $15 million to property owners in the zone. Some were offered far more than what they originally paid for the buildings.
“Ultimately, the taxpayers are the ones that are going to foot the bill for what was paid to those existing property owners,” said Stephen Thode, a finance professor and real estate expert at Lehigh University.
Thode said he couldn’t say for certain whether the city overpaid, but he noted the city hasn’t been forthcoming with the appraisals for the properties.