City of Jacksonville Beach Community Redevelopment: Owners Tony and Aida Rukab (Duval County, FL)
In 2003, Mr. Brigham, while a partner in his predecessor firm Brigham Moore, LLP, represented Tony and Aida Rukab</span> in a taking of three small lots located just off of J. Turner Butler Boulevard in Jacksonville Beach and within a Community Redevelopment Area. The neighborhood had been designated “blighted” over ten years before and the City sought to take the property from the Rukabs and deed it to a local real estate developer to build a shopping center. The initial offer made by the developer for the trhee lots in 1999 was $48,000. When filing for a subsequent quick taking, the developer’s appraiser testified to a value of $139,000.
Early in the case, the circuit court entered an order of taking and denied the owner’s constitutional challenge which asserted that the private use of a shopping center predominated over the purported public use of preventing blight. A much publicized appeal was taken and won for the Rukabs, revisiting the question of constitutional public purpose where appellate cases had been silent for over twenty years. On remand, however, the circuit court again ordered a taking. A second appeal followed, this time lost by the Rukabs.
Notwithstanding, as a result of a successful first appeal, the date of taking was postponed to 2003 instead of 199 and the developer’s appraiser was required to appraise the property once again, this time at a value of $294,000. At trial, Mr. Brigham was successful in having the jury reject this estimate of value and decide on a higher verdict of $567,000. Although the Rukabs desired most to keep their property, the compensation received was similar to that of some of highest price commercial land in Jacksonville Beach at the time.