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Philadelphia artist fights city's condemnation of studio

Most people don't expect that their property will be condemned or the deed to their home seized by a government entity, but this happens more often than you might think. People from nearly all walks of life have had their property taken from them through eminent domain, and unfortunately the compensation in these deals often isn't fair.

That may be the case in an ongoing dispute in Philadelphia, where the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority has already seized the deed to an artist's home and studio and is now trying to condemn the property.

According to one report, a real estate agent appraised the property at $2.2 million, but the city has offered a figure that is 30 percent lower. In addition to that offer, the city has agreed to pay the owner $40,000 as compensation for about 5,000 pieces of art he has made over the course of decades. The artist said that moving the materials would cost roughly $250,000.

For its part, the city wants to condemn the studio, destroy it and build in its place a supermarket parking lot.

A petition has been started to help the artist keep his studio and home, and protests are reportedly scheduled. The petition requests that the city give up the deed that was seized nearly a year ago.

Property owners facing a similar dispute should be apprised of their legal options for challenging a condemnation or an eminent domain action. If a property seizure is unavoidable, it is important that Philadelphia residents have the proper legal representation to achieve the maximum relocation benefits and the maximum compensation.

Source: Curbed, "City Using Eminent Domain to Tear Down Artist's Home & Studio," Molly Webb, Nov. 8, 2013

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