Facts alone, no matter how numerous or verifiable, do not automatically arrange themselves into an intelligible, or truthful, picture of the world. It is the task of the human mind to invent a theoretical framework to account for them. 
— Francis Bello
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Eminent Domain

CSA has worked on over 50 eminent domain proceedings for both condemnors and condemnees.   These cases include complete and partial takings, those with and without temporary construction easements and cases with direct, severance and consequential damages.  Complications arise when we must address condemnation specific issues such as the general knowledge of the imminence of the taking, the unit rule, the project rule, unity of use and the identification of the pre-taking property.  CSA represented the seven property owners in the path of the expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.  These urban land parcels ranged from 12,000 SF to 116,000 SF with building improvements ranging from 23,000 SF to 185,000 SF.

Evaluated the impact of the Pending Public Acquisition District and the general knowledge of the imminence of condemnation on market behavior, property operations and property valuation.

Analyzed current operations and market forces to determine the highest and best use of each of the properties taken;

Worked with a team of professionals including architects, land planners, zoning lawyers, and construction contractors to fine tune development potential of each property as a basis for valuation;

Provided direct expert and rebuttal testimony on valuation as well as evaluated the Authority’s expert reports.

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Zoning and Land Use Disputes

 

The beneficiary of a precedent setting inverse spot zoning case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, our client was seeking compensation for the market value of a property that had been illegally zoned for decades.  Located adjacent to one of the largest regional malls in the United States, rather, than being limited to a single family residential or recreational use, the Court ordered approval of a substantial mixed use development.

Evaluated the market feasibility and potential absorption of 1 million square feet of retail space in a lifestyle configuration, 3,000 residential units and 220,000 square feet of office space.

Analyzed the ability of the site and site infrastructure to support the proposed development plan within the context of its built environment;

Determined the highest and best use and market value of a fee simple interest in the subject property;

Analyzed the property characteristics relative to the other land parcels that were also located in the same zoning district to determine if the property was similarly situated.

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Land Title Issues

Uptown Worthington is a lifestyle shopping center that was approved for 753 residential units, 213,000 SF of office space, a 240 room hotel, and 754,660 SF of retail space.  The initial land assemblage included an "abandoned" railroad right of way.  The title company provided insurance.  As the development commenced, the railroad claimed that they had not abandoned the right-of-way and they intended to utilize it for box car storage. The developer acquired the right-of-way from the railroad.  Clarion/Samuels provided consulting services and an expert report on behalf of the developer in its claim against the title company.

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Bankruptcy Related Litigation: Tousa 13th Largest Homebuilder in the U.S.A

Clarion/Samuels and Clarion Associates Chicago provided litigation consulting and valuation services as part of a bankruptcy-related proceeding involving TOUSA, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S. The entire inventory of vacant land, finished lots, homes under construction, and completed homes comprised over 27,000 homes, homesites or potential homesites in 29 market divisions spread across the states of Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.  Mr. Samuels of Clarion/Samuels was the testifying expert in this case.

Clarion undertook an intensive investigation of available documents and internal accounting records to determine the components of the real estate assets.

Clarion staff inspected the subdivisions included in the residential property inventory and completed a thorough market study for each residential submarket;

We applied elements of the sales comparison, cost, and subdivision analysis approaches to value to determine the market value of the individual real estate asset components.