In a seven day trial conducted by Wilkes Artis trial lawyers David Fuss and Scott Cryder, a D.C. Superior Court jury awarded Southwest Landholder (an affiliate of the Akridge Company) $32 million as just compensation for the District’s taking of its land in Buzzard Point for the new D.C. United Soccer Stadium. Although the District had provided the property owner $21.1 million as estimated just compensation for the taking, at trial the city argued to the jury through testimony of its expert appraiser David Lennhoff, that the property’s actual value was only $13-$14 million. The WilkesArtis trial team countered with extensive evidence from its expert appraiser, William Harvey, as well as ownership’s Adam Gooch, that the District had vastly under estimated this site’s potential value as of the date of taking in 2015. Although the District sought to have the jury’s verdict set aside, in a strongly worded opinion the trial judge flatly denied the District’s motion. Subsequently, the District decided not to appeal the matter to the D.C. Court of Appeals. This is the first eminent domain trial that the city had lost in more than two decades.
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Despite severe OTR opposition to the disclosure of its Tax Year 2015 sale capitalization rate worksheets, the Court ruled after an evidentiary hearing, that the worksheets must be disclosed.
DC Superior Court Judge Campbell rejected the District’s formulistic assessment approach which failed to take into account the substantial amount of lease-up costs that faced this large office building property. The Court also rejected the District’s baseless Tax Year 2010 capitalization rate and its minimization of the impact the 2008 financial crisis had upon commercial real estate values.