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GVSU looks to force building's sale

Publication Date: 
June 23, 2010
By Tony Tagliavia

Professor Mark Kelman is quoted on legal uses for eminent domain regarding Grand Valley State University's filing to acquire a building near it's campus to expand their business school. Tony Tagliavia filed this story:

Grand Valley State University filed paperwork this week in Kent County Circuit Court seeking to condemn a former warehouse near its downtown campus and force a sale through eminent domain.

"We think that it's not really free enterprise, the way we look at it," said Ed De Vries, who owns the building with his brother.

The more than 80-year-old former A&P warehouse along Front Avenue, south of Fulton Street, sits in the shadows of the GVSU campus.


"The only real serious limit on that is whether it is a public use," Professor Mark Kelman told 24 Hour News 8. "And there's really no doubt that an educational use, whether it be for a secondary or elementary school or for a public university, would be a public use."

GVSU doesn't even need to prove a public benefit, Kelman said. Under the law, schools and universities are considered infrastructure just as roads and highways are.