The City of Harrisburg files $2.2 million eminent domain for former car dealership building

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The City of Harrisburg is in a legal dispute over an eminent domain offer to a local business owner.

The city has taken over the former Brenner Auto Dealership on Paxton and 19th street by filing a “Declaration of Taking” in the court of common pleas in exchange for $2.2 million.

The building has been used as the city’s public works building for the last six years.

Under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, property can be taken from a private land owner for the public good, as long as they are appropriately compensated for the market value of the property.

"We think the property is worth more than that, a lot more than that," said Adam Klein, Attorney with Smigel Anderson & Sacks.

The City of Harrisburg and Brenner  have been unable to come to a final agreement on the value, ultimately leading to the city’s push for eminent domain.

“We wanted to give every amount of time that we possibly could to try and negotiate a settlement and this was really a last resort," said Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

Brenner is now pushing to go back to negotiations through preliminary objection.

"A public works building is something for the public good, it’s something that is going to benefit the city for decades to come, we just want to be treated fairly and want to make sure that when the city takes the property as they have, that they pay the fair market value for it," added Klein.

If the City of Harrisburg and Brenner are unable to come to a final agreement on value they will petition for the appointment of the board of view.

Either side can then appeal that ruling to the court of common pleas and have a jury trial on the matter.

"We’ll see how it goes we don’t want to put a limitation on negotiations, if we can’t work something out then we just go to court," said Klein.

Brenner’s legal team says they are hoping to come to an agreement and have  everything resolved within the next year if possible.

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