Family Compound Property First Coast Expressway Tollway (St. Johns County, FL)

Family Compound Property First Coast Expressway Tollway (St. Johns County, FL)

In 2019, Brigham Property Rights Law Firm represented five related families who separately owned their own single-family residential homes within a 10-acre tract.  All but one of the homes was being condemned by FDOT for a new interchange as part of its First Coast Expressway Project.  FDOT announced its intention to acquire the properties years before, but waited until nearing its project’s construction date to file its eminent domain lawsuits against each owner.  FDOT was not willing to acquire the properties in advance of litigation unless the owner’s were willing to accept a settlement closer to FDOT’s appraiser’s estimate of value.

The owner’s retained the law firm when first receiving notice from FDOT of the potential acquisition.  In pre-condemnation planning, a trust was created between two family members to insure that one of the homes remaining after the taking, immediately next to the new interchange, was eligible to receive severance damages.  Likewise, in light of the real estate market trend showing scarcity of rural residential tracts available for single-family home development outside of large master-planned communities in St. Johns County, the owners were encouraged to wait for FDOT to file its lawsuits rather than negotiate presuit settlements with anticipated discounts.

Once FDOT filed its lawsuits, the owners successfully resolved each of their cases with FDOT in mediations occurring before their respective jury trial dates.   In each case, the owners also negotiated for extended possession of their properties to allow sufficient time for their relocation.  They also received relocation benefits apart from their respective condemnation awards to assist in their moving their families.

The net-amounts awarded to each family were as follows:

Settlement One

Initial Offer: $488,400

Final Award: $1,020,427

Two Single-Family Homes /Sawmill Business

Settlement Two

Initial Offer: $247,000

Final Award: $510,000

Single-Family Home

Settlement Three

Initial Offer: $200,000

Final Award: $475,000

Single-Family Home

Settlement Four

Initial Offer: $225,000

Final Award: $475,000

Single-Family Home

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Andrew Brigham - author


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