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Eminent domain threatens unique Philadelphia business

Many eclectic businesses operate within Philadelphia and cater to the needs and wants of residents from all across the city. A West Philadelphia artist has made a name for himself by opening a studio that is as much a work of art itself as the objects that are produced inside of it. Lately, however, the artist's focus has been distracted by a difficult legal problem.

The artist is facing the threat of eminent domain by the city. He may lose his property and the many improvements that he has made to it over the decade-long period that he has owned it. The artist claims that while at one time the studio could have qualified as a condemned property, it is now a functioning work and living space.

The city would like to take ownership of the property in order to allow a private developer to open a grocery store on the location. The artist is not the only property owner confronting this monumental issue - around 1,500 other property owners are subject to losing their properties to the city through eminent domain. The artist and others will likely face difficult legal battles over this issue, as the United States Supreme Court has previously ruled that eminent domain may be used for both private and public development.

As this artist fights to keep ownership of his studio and to offer services to the residents of Philadelphia, others may become aware of eminent domain issues affecting their communities. Eminent domain can uproot property owners and leave them scrambling to find new locations in which to operate their businesses and lives. Anyone with questions about this difficult property issue can contact real estate attorneys to learn more about how to protect their properties from eminent domain.

Source: The Philadelphia Tribune, "West Philly artist hopes to save studio from eminent domain," Nathaniel Lee, Nov. 26, 2014

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