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New York Eminent-Domain Agency Takes Tuck-It-Away Self Storage to Court


The New York City land-use conflict involving a successful eminent-domain claim on Tuck-It-Away Self Storage in Manhattan goes on, as self-storage owner Nicholas Sprayregen and the land developer have not been able to agree on a sales price. As a result, the Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC), which is developing a campus expansion for Columbia University, filed a condemnation petition with the New York County Supreme Court to force a sale and give final possession of the property to ESDC.

A spokesperson from ESDC told the source he expects the court to make a judgment on the petition in late February or early March. He also said the ESDC will continue to negotiate out of court with Sprayregen and two other business-owners, Gurnam Singh and Parminder Kaur, who own gas stations that are part of the eminent-domain claim.

In June 2010, the New York Court of Appeals in Albany overturned a lower court's ruling that forbade the state from taking possession of the property belonging to Sprayregen, Singh and Kaur. Despite an appeal from the three business-owners, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in December 2010, effectively giving the land to the ESDC and Columbia. The parties have since been negotiating a sales price. The legal proceedings began in 2008, when the ESDC deemed the land owned by Sprayregen, Singh and Kaur to be "blighted," and the three owners filed individual lawsuits to keep their properties.

Eminent domain allows government to seize private property for development that benefits the public good and entitles the property owners to market-rate compensation.

Sprayregen owns three other Tuck-It-Away locations in the vicinity. According to the source, a notice posted on the door of a Tuck-it-Away storage facility on Jan. 31 said the ESDC will file an acquisition map, marking the property that the ESDC seeks to acquire, by Feb. 27. The notice also explained that after the map is filed, the acquisition of the properties will be complete. Additionally, a Tuck-it-Away employee leaving a storage facility on 131st Street told the source he believed the building in question would be demolished soon.


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