Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2007

Holdout seeking ‘what’s fair’

May 3, 2007

Ray Bailiff says he doesn't want to stand in the way of the Lansing Towne Center project, but at the same time he wants to make sure developers give him full value for his property.

Bailiff and his two siblings inherited a home and about 1 acre of land on Lois Street from their parents, Bill and Rosy Bailiff. It's the last of more than 20 tracts of property developers say they need to build a retail complex that will span from 4-H Road to West Kay Street along Main Street.

Bailiff, who grew up in Lansing, said he wanted the offer from developers for his property to be based on rates for commercial, not residential property. The land, he reasons, will be used for a commercial development.

He said he had his parents' home and land professionally assessed, based on square feet for a commercial property.

"We're going to get what's fair," he said in a phone interview on Wednesday. "We've spent time, money and effort to find out from people who know what the fair price is, and it isn't close to what's being offered by the Lansing developers."

At a special meeting Thursday, Lansing City Council adopted an ordinance to allow for the acquisition and condemnation of the Bailiff property. The ordinance allows the city to exercise the power of eminent domain to condemn, if necessary, the Bailiff residence to continue progress of the development.

City Administrator Mike Smith said he remained hopeful developers and Bailiff can reach an agreement and the city can avoid condemning the property.

Bailiff and his siblings inherited the property in March after their widowed mother died.

Though he said he encouraged the development project, Bailiff said he had not been offered a value he deems fit for the property.

In all, developers identified 24 tracts of privately owned land as being necessary for the project. Developers have reached agreement on 23 of those tracts, offering buyouts based on amounts higher than the appraised residential value of the properties.

Smith said the county appraised the Bailiff property at $94,000. The developers' first offer to Bailiff was $134,000, Bailiff said, which he rejected. Negotiations have continued between Bailiff, his attorney and the developers, and the offer later increased to $180,000, Smith said.

Bailiff, Smith said, was seeking $450,000, but on Monday made a counteroffer decreasing his request to $385,000. Developers have since countered with an increase to $200,000 from their earlier $180,000 offer, Smith said.

The city has a deadline of July 1 to condemn the home or face new, more stringent rules from the state regarding condemnation.

Bailiff said he wasn't worried about the property being condemned and a judge determining the value of the property.

"It's not about the money, it's about what's fair and what's not," he said.

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