by: Peter J. Gallagher
Apparently there is more than fist bumping (pumping?) going on "down the Shore." The PropertyProf Blog has an interesting story about what it calls "A Non-Taking On The Jersey Shore." If nothing else, the story gives me a work-related reason to go down to Atlantic City. I don't really want to go down to the casinos, I have to do it for the sake of the blog . . .
The article tells the story of a tiny lot sandwiched in between Trump Plaza and Cesar's Palace. It is zoned for gambling, which the post notes "doesn't exactly seem like the highest and best use." But, the lot has some history, as it was at the center of a high-profile takings case from the early days of the once booming (now not really booming) gambling mecca:
Vera Coling and her husband bought the property in 1961, when Atlantic City was still a thriving beachtown. A decade later, as the city fell into decline, it made the drastic decision to legalize gambling and welcome big-time casino development. The prime location of Coking's three-story house quickly attracted the interest of the real estate industry. In 1983, for example, Bob Guccione (the founder of Penthouse), offered to purchase the house for $1 million to build a casino. Coking said no.
Soon enough, the property attracted the attention of another tycoon – Donald Trump. Unlike Guccione, Trump had the local redevelopment agency attempt to acquire the property through eminent domain for $250,000, a much reduced price. Coking sued Trump and the redevelopment agency, claiming that the taking was not for a public purpose. The Superior Court in New Jersey agreed with Coking. It ruled that because there were few restrictions on what Trump could do with the property, there were "no assurances that the public interest will be protected."
The post notes that the arguments raised in the case are "[o]f historical interest for property profs" and other folks interested in takings, because it was "the Institute for Justice's first test case for the theories it later advanced in Kelo [v. City of New London]," the controversial eminent domain/takings case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court a few years back.
Also of historical interest is the interview with Donald Trump embedded in the post, which presents a much younger, pre-Apprentice, less coiffed, but no less pompous, version of the Donald.
Finally, in case you are interested, the property is for sale. Here is the listing. It can be yours for only $5 million, or slightly less than what this guy took from the Tropicana in a marathon gamling session a few weeks ago.