Eminent Domain home sold for over a million dollars

By Dan Wells - bio | email

NORWOOD, OH (FOX19) -- Development at Rookwood Commons may finally get a green light.

The last home standing, dilapidated but defiant, in the middle of that 11 acre site has been sold for more than a million dollars.

The sale of the vacant house ends a long court battle and now clears the way for even more business in this area, but it seems it was a long and expensive battle.

In 2002, Rookwood developers approached City of Norwood officials with a proposal to redevelop 71 properties in this neighborhood, and build the $125 million Rookwood Exchange, a multi-purpose project which was supposed with a hotel, office space, and retail shops.

"It's actually a project we started looking at about five years ago, so it's gone through a multitude of iterations," said Tracy Nemenz with Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate.

But before anything happened, some home owners refused to sell. The city of Norwood tried to use eminent domain to buy those properties for the developer. After numerous court battles, the issue made it's way to the Ohio Supreme Court in July of 2006.

The high court ruled the city of Norwood could not use deteriorating as a standard to justify taking of homes by eminent domain.

"Its had a lot of legal issues associated with it and that last remaining legal issue was resolved at the end of last week," said Nemenz.

According to records from both the Hamilton County Auditor and Recorders Office, the last homeowner, Joseph Horney sold this home for $1.2 million, clearing the way for development.

"We're now able to approach the project again, we're now at the starting line, how do we best develop that 11-acre parcel of land," said Nemenz.

FOX19 tried to talk with that home owner, but attempts were not successful.

There are no specific development plans or time table for dirt to be turned here, but we will keep watching.