GRAPEVINE — The city is taking legal action to seize property for a new public safety building after a $1.65 million offer to buy the property was rejected.Grapevine officials hope to seize nearly six acres of vacant land near Highway 26 via eminent domain. A three-person special commission appointed by the Tarrant County Court will hear the case July 29.The commissioners will make a determination of fair market value. If either side is dissatisfied, they are entitled to file an appeal with the trial court, said Matthew Boyle, Grapevine’s assistant city attorney.Then the issue would become civil litigation, winding up before a judge or in a jury trial, Boyle said.Art Anderson, the attorney for Grapevine/Tate Joint Venture, said the landowner has no connection to Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate.The vacant land is located on the south side of Ira E. Woods Avenue, between Highway 114 and William D. Tate Avenue. Boyle said the area is the perfect location for a new public safety building.“It is down the street from the existing [police] building. It has good public visibility and it has good public access,” Boyle said. “We are committed to that site and we believe the city’s offer represents fair market value.”In November, voters gave approval to the sale of almost $70 million in bonds, including nearly $40 million for a new law enforcement center and $30 million for improvements to the city’s Community Activities Center.On May 7, the City Council voted in favor of seizing the property by eminent domain. Eminent domain gives the State the authority to seize private property without the owner’s consent. It can be legislatively delegated by the state to municipalities and government subdivisions. Anderson confirmed the company had been served with the condemnation petition and said the city expressed its willingness to continue negotiations.“We would welcome a counter offer,” Boyle said.The proposed 108,000-square-foot public safety building will house the city’s municipal court, police detention center, law enforcement facilities and fire headquarters. Construction is estimated to cost $38.5 million.
Marty Sabota, 817-3909-7367