Chandler is preparing to acquire more than a dozen downtown properties to make way for a new City Hall. The City Council last week unanimously authorized city staff to begin the appraisal process on 19 land parcels from nine different owners.
Previous reports estimate the city will spend about $4.2 million to buy the needed 4.2 acres along Arizona Avenue between Boston Street and Frye Road.
“I have either met with or spoken with everybody,” said Chandler Real Estate manager Sharon Joyce, referring to downtown property owners. “And everyone seems cooperative.”
New Councilman Jeff Weninger, who raised concerns over the city’s potential use of eminent domain to force owners to sell during the March election campaign, said Friday he’s comfortable with how the process is being handled so far.
But he also lobbied for a provision to require council approval for any acquisition that requires condemnation — essentially the forced sale of land for a public use.
“I just don’t want to approve the use of eminent domain seven months from now,” Weninger said.
The city is paying $40,000 to Arizona Commercial Appraisers to estimate the fair market value for the parcels in the next three months. A second appraiser will review those results before offers are made on the properties, Joyce said.
The appraisal process is expected to be finished within three months.
The city also will hire a relocation company for $138,655 to help business owners and residents find new sites.
City officials said they’re hopeful property owners will voluntarily sell, but ultimately it could condemn properties to force owners to sell.
“I just hope we can get through it without too many bumps and bruises,” Weninger said.