So, how would you like to roll tens of thousands of dollars into renovating and redesigning a restaurant/bar and then – just months later – be targeted as a possible eminent domain claim? That’s the situation for Bengal’s Bar and Grill. Mike Martin of the Columbia Heart Beat writes
Declaring the acquisitions “necessary for the welfare and improvement of the city and in the public interest,” the ordinance will be presented for a January 5th public hearing, during a holiday period when many city residents are either busy or away.
Included in the condemnation package: U.S. Cleaners at 501 Elm St.; recently remodeled Bengals Bar and Grill, at 227 S. 6th St.; and a rental house at 216 S. Fifth St. renovated and owned by Addison’s restaurant proprietors Matt Jenne, Adam Dushoff, and Fifth Street Investments, LLC.
“The Missouri Historical Society has outgrown its current location,” the city staff report reads. With an MU parking lot on the north half of the block, the historical society has “requested the assistance of the City in acquiring the south half of the block, if the Society is unable to reach agreement for sale of the properties with the current owners.”
But the owners say no one from either the historical society or City Hall has even contacted them.
“Outside of a few rumors, this is the first I’ve heard about it,” said Jenne. “No one has made us any offers; no one has initiated any negotiations.”
This seems like a pretty glaring overreach by the city to me.