City commissioners approved an ordinance on first reading Tuesday night authorizing the condemnation of eight parcels along Route 47 should business owners and the developer of a proposed mall not come to a settlement agreement.
While this ordinance still has to go through various steps before receiving final approval, Mayor Jim Quinn said city officials are hoping settlements will be reached by all the parties involved.
"We hope and pray we don't have to use this," he said. "Goodman Properties (the developer) has been great and we hope that negotiations will continue."
On Monday, Dr. Harold Blumenthal of the Animal Hospital of Millville accepted an offer from the developer to build the animal hospital a brand new facility in exchange for his parcel of land.
Quinn said this is the way the city would like to see the other parcels which include a Goodwill Store and Pizza Hut handled.
"This (the Blumenthal settlement) is a good thing," he said. "No one is going to lose. They will all be compensated. We would never, ever want to do eminent domain and, hopefully, they will come to a meeting of the minds."
Steve Durst, a representative from Goodman Properties, addressed the commission and said they are working hard to come to an agreement with all involved.
"We are not looking to come into the arena and strong arm anyone," he said. "When we develop, we stay. We move in as a neighbor."
Durst said his company has no involvement with the eminent domain issue and that they are not looking for the city to do their negotiations.
Goodman properties is looking to construct a $40 million shopping center near the Millville Town Center on Route 47.
The group -- which said they have received interest from stores such as Target, ShopRite, Kohl's, Pet Smart, Office Max, Office Depot and other smaller units -- is expecting to submit a preliminary site plan within the next 30 to 60 days.
The facility could bring approximately 1,000 jobs to the area and ratables, which the city needs.
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