Saturday, June 25, 2005

Chicago, Chicago--That Store Stealin' Town

It seems like seven times out of ten, it's condos. Cities love their condos:

Eminent domain gives a city the power to take private land -- for a fair price -- so long as the deal benefits the public. A Connecticut case awaiting an important ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is mirrored by many eminent domain cases across the country including the fight over a Jefferson Park bike shop.

They all ask the question, "when is it proper for a public
body to take private land for what will be private use?" Don Zordani is a former bicycle racing champion who has made his living selling bikes. Nearly 35 years ago, he bought an old Jewell store in Jefferson Park and turned it into a shop that has had -- over the years -- a sizable clientele.

The city wants to take the bike shop and surrounding properties and allow a private developer to build a seven story condominium tower.

Zordani sees that as an abuse of the city's power to condemn.
"This is not something for the city or the park district, or a school. it would just be for a private developer to make the lot of profit," said Don Zordani.