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Eminent domain: Whose land is it anyway?

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KEYWORDS CNBC / Eminent domain / Kelo
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HousingWire has covered eminent domain as both a tool some want to use for dealing with underwater mortgages, and as a tool used improperly in real estate deals.

CNBC looks at the effects of the landmark Kelo decision now, almost a decade later.

Nine years ago, James Dupree bought a rundown warehouse and onetime horse stable in Philadelphia so he could convert it into an art studio. The 64-year-old muralist and painter knew he would have to spend thousands of dollars to fix it up.

What he didn't know was that the city was going to use the power of eminent domain to take the property and convert the block where Dupree's studio sits into to a high-end shopping area.

Most court challenges to eminent domain have been rejected over the years and in some cases have led to expansion of the practice. Experts point to a 2005 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court , Kelo v. City of New London, as a game changer.

That ruling affirmed the authority of New London, Conn., to take nonblighted private property by eminent domain for the purpose of increasing municipal revenue.

"That ruling allowed the taking of residential property under the idea that it was good for the people," said Nicholas Chop, director of litigation at Integra Realty Resources. "It's really opened up the floodgates when it comes to eminent domain."

Source: CNBC
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