Eminent Domain Lawyers at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog Negotiate 5.75 Million Dollar Settlement for Public Storage

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The Eminent Domain Lawyers at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog recently negotiated a $5.75 million settlement for Public Storage, a client facing the condemnation of their property, a storage unit business. The settlement exceeds the City of Charlotte's appraised value by more than $1.5 million.

Condemnation Attorney

Eminent Domain Lawyer Stephanie Autry

Our willingness to take this matter to court, combined with the information provided by the appraisers and industry experts we retained for our client, caused the City of Charlotte to increase their offer by more than 40 percent.

(12 CVS 17148 - Mecklenburg County). According to Stephanie Autry, Eminent Domain Lawyer of Cranfill, Sumner, & Hartzog, Public Storage owned and operated a storage facility that contained approximately 650 rental units. In order to make room for the Blue Line Extension, the City of Charlotte condemned the property, forcing the tenants to vacate their storage units. In addition to losing the property, the condemnation also resulted in Public Storage losing significant rental income.

According to court documents the City of Charlotte initially appraised the property at less than $4.1 million. Public Storage retained Stephanie Autry and George Autry, two of the firm's eminent domain lawyers, who hired Richard Marchitelli of Cushman & Wakefield to provide a second appraisal for the condemned property. Mr. Marchitelli appraised the condemned property at $6.3 million, an increase of more than $2 million over the City of Charlotte's initial appraised value.

"At issue in the Public Storage case was a disagreement between appraisers as to the capitalization rate for the storage facility," explained eminent domain lawyer Stephanie Autry. "Capitalization rate, or cap rate, establishes the rate of return an investor will receive based on the amount of income generated by the property in relation to the purchase price of the property. In simple terms, the lower the cap rate, the more valuable the investment." According to Autry the City of Charlotte's appraiser established a cap rate of 9.5 percent compared with Mr. Marchitelli, who established a cap rate of 6.25 percent.

“To convince the City of Charlotte to use a lower cap rate to calculate the appraised value for the Public Storage facility, we retained an industry expert in self-storage facilities.” Stated Autry. “Mr. Bob Francis of The Heron Group agreed with the lower cap rate established by Mr. Marchitelli. The firm's experts noted that the investment in self-storage facilities, particularly Public Storage's facilities, was a very safe investment justifying a lower cap rate.” she added.

According to Autry, after reviewing the appraisals and information provided by the eminent domain lawyers at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog, the city appraiser revised the city's appraisal to reflect a lower cap rate, thereby increasing the appraised value by approximately $800,000. According to the revised appraisal, the City of Charlotte believed that it only owed Public Storage $4,800,000 for the eminent domain taking of the property. Faced with a legal proceeding on the matter, the City of Charlotte thought it best to settle out of court with Public Storage, agreeing to compensation in the amount of $5.75 million, a $1.5 million increase over the City's initial appraisal. The settlement was approved by the Charlotte City Council and the Federal Transportation Administration.

Stephanie Autry, who has practiced as an eminent domain and condemnation attorney for more than a decade, stated "Despite the City's increased offer, we felt that our client was still being under-compensated for the taking of their property. Our willingness to take this matter to court, combined with the information provided by the appraisers and industry experts we retained for our client, caused the City of Charlotte to increase their offer by more than 40 percent."

In eminent domain and condemnation proceedings, knowing the rules and procedures isn't always enough. The eminent domain and condemnation attorneys in the Eminent Domain Lawyer group at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog have a thorough understanding of eminent domain and condemnation proceedings and the experience and industry connections to achieve maximum compensation for individuals and businesses facing loss of property as a result of eminent domain or condemnation.

The law firm of Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog is a mid-size law firm with offices in Charlotte, Wilmington, and Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to land condemnation and eminent domain law, the firm's practice areas include, medical malpractice and personal injury law, intellectual property law, employment law, family law, and products liability law. The Land Condemnation and Eminent Domain Law Group within the firm is comprised of lawyers that solely represent property owners whose property rights are impacted by eminent domain or land condemnation.

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Susan Talbert
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