Farmland owners fighting Troy eminent domain suit: Bellville (IL) News-Democrat, 2/17/06

By Jayne Matthews

Troy and owners of farmland beside Interstate 270 remain at odds over how much a developer should pay for 175 acres to build a new shopping and business center.

The city is attempting to exercise its powers of eminent domain to take the land. The owners are fighting in court to make the city's developer negotiate a price without the guarantee he will ultimately get the land.

A lull now is over the courtroom action, while lawyers for both sides build their cases, Troy Mayor Tom Caraker said.

"It's in discovery and deposition right now," Caraker said.

Owners initially put an asking price of about $147,900 an acre on the land. At that price, the total cost to Koman Properties of Clayton, Mo., would be about $25.8 million.

Negotiations to buy the land began more than two years ago, after the city chose Koman to build what has been called Troy Town Center.

Koman already has commitments from Walgreen's drugstore and Shop 'n Save supermarket to locate in the area.

Company President James Koman could not be reached for comment on the land price dispute.

The land is along Interstate 270, between U.S. 40 and Illinois 162. It is controlled by a trust set up by two families that own the property.

One of the owners, Shirley Schlemer of Granite City, declined comment on the court case and possible land sale.

Troy city attorney Steve Wiggington could not be reached for comment.

News-Democrat: www.belleville.com