Taking Private Property to Build an Urban Sports Arena: A Valid Exercise of Eminent Domain Powers?
This article presents an overview of eminent domain law in New York State, with an emphasis on the taking of private property for conveyance to private real estate developers. The proposed plans for the construction of a sports arena for the New Jersey Nets basketball team in Brooklyn, New York is used as an example of the issues that arise in this context. This article also examines the history of the constitutional public use requirement in New York, as well as the use of eminent domain for urban renewal purposes. Sister states' treatment of these issues is also reviewed. Finally, this article considers the effect of the recent United States Supreme Court decision Kelo v City of New London on the law of eminent domain in New York. Ultimately, it appears that current trends point toward the validity of takings to support projects like the Brooklyn arena project. Several bills pending in the New York State legislature, however, may curtail the use of eminent domain in the economic development context in the future.