SW Legal studies in Business

Large Areas May Be Condemned for Private Development with Public Assistance

Appeals court held that New York City and state had authority to condemn a large area for a mix of public and private development. Even though some condemned property was not blighted, it was needed to make the development a success.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

Fifth Amendment; Eminent Domain; Public Use; Blight

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

The Atlantic Yards Project is a publicly subsidized development of 22 acres of an area in Brooklyn that will include an arena for the New Jersey Nets, apartment buildings and office buildings. The state and city condemned the property in the area as blighted and used New York’s eminent domain law to seize it for reconstruction. Fifteen owners of homes and businesses sued, contending this was an unconstitutional taking of private property for public use. The district court dismissed the suit. Property owners appealed.


Affirmed. The project for redevelopment of a blighted area, which includes affordable housing, public open space, mass-transit improvements, and other features is rationally related to public use. The fact that some private party participants in the development will profit from it does not make the development invalid. The legislature has the ability to grant authority to an agency to make such determinations for it. The Supreme Court has given governments wide leeway in such matters. Even if some areas that have been condemned are not blighted, they may be included to make the whole development package more appealing. Such development need not be done parcel by parcel, the agency may condemn an entire area for such purposes.


Goldstein v. Pataki, 516 F.3d 50 (2nd Cir., 2008)

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