Cincinnati Eminent Domain and Historic Properties

In Cincinnati a potential eminent domain case has the city government, local historic preservation society, and an education non profit in the midst of a heated discussion regarding the future of the James Gamble mansion in the Westwood neighborhood.

The issue at hand is that the Green Acres Foundation purchased the property and wants to raze it to build a youth education park and facility. At the same time some neighbors in Westwood and a local historic preservation society are lobbying the Cincinnati City government to take possession of the home using eminent domain.

James Gamble House

The challenge is that if the city moves forward they would have to pay fair market value to the home owner (Green Acres Foundation) and then take on the responsibility of maintaining the property.  While some neighbors are eager to see the property saved, and possibly be turned into a park and education center ,the money to do so would come from the City’s general fund – a fund that is facing a budget deficit of $60,000,000.

From a real estate property value perspective the question I would look at is how do the two options impact property values in the neighborhood. If Green Acres creates a park and education center vs. the city creating a park and education center. Even if the building is preserved it is not a residence and that impacts the character of the neighborhood. In this instance the only opinion that will matter is that of a buyer considering a listing in the neighborhood … a buyer who may or may not care if that the eventual park and education center are in a preserved historic building or a new one.

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