As reported by the St. Louis Post and KMOX.com, just compensation has finally been paid to St. Louis property owner Bill Simon for the full block of commercial property he owned in the Bottle District of downtown St. Louis. In 2005, the Land Clearance and Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) seized Mr. Simon’s land by eminent domain for the purpose of redevelopment.
The city valued Simon’s property at $1.2 million, however, the property owner and his appraiser valued the property at $3.6 million. Mr. Simon’s attorneys, Robert Denlow and Paul Henry, argued the case before a jury in July 2008. The jury verdict awarded Mr. Simon $2,871,200, an increase of approximately $1.6 million over what he had initially been offered. A judgment was entered against the LCRA requiring the city agency to pay the verdict amount plus $317,427 in pre-trial interest and $475 per day in interest thereafter. The LCRA appealed and an appellate court upheld the verdict. On March 23, 2010, the Missouri Supreme Court declined to hear the LCRA’s final appeal. The city of St. Louis and Clayco Construction have now paid the amount of just compensation awarded by the jury, plus interest, totalling $3.5 million.
The property, which spans an entire city block just north of the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis, was to be given to developer Clayco Construction for its planned $226 million entertainment destination complex. When the economy soured, the project stalled. Today, Simon’s former property is an empty lot guarded by a giant bottle of Vess Soda. Plans for the Bottle District entertainment area and complex remain undetermined.