Business Owners in Glendale, CO, Allege Abuse of Eminent Domain

The city council of Denver suburb Glendale, CO, unanimously voted to allow the use of eminent domain to facilitate a $175 million development, despite the 100-plus protesters who packed the chamber last month.

“If you pass this measure tonight, every business in Glendale — whether it’s Target or Shotgun Willie’s — will have to ask if they’re making the right decision investing in this city,” Denver resident Jeanne Price said in her testimony. “The answer would be no.”

Still, the council decided that the city’s urban renewal authority should be allowed to use eminent domain to acquire the property in question, a 42-acre site on the banks of Cherry Creek now slated to become a dining and entertainment complex. Eminent domain refers to the government’s right to take ownership of a property for public use. The government is required to compensate the owner, but the owner need not consent to the sale.

The city currently owns about 40% of the total site.

In an apparent attempt to soften the decision, however, the council did add provisions requiring that the city attempt to negotiate with current property owners of the other 60% of the land.

That would still displace small and medium-sized businesses such as Authentic Persian and Oriental Rugs, which owner Saeed Kholghy says has been run as a family business in that same spot for two and a half decades. Supporters of the council’s decision might say that the company can sell Persian rugs (defined by their thick pile of 160 knots per square inch, distinct knotting and unique designs) somewhere else. But many long-time customers bemoaned the possibility of the council forcing it to move.

Kholghy also asserted that he has been negotiating with the city for almost 10 years, but that the exchange has become adversarial in the past year. “If you want to do something, you have to work with us,” Kholghy told the council.

After the vote, some in attendance left demanding recalls of council members.

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