TERRE HAUTE —
A six-member jury took just 40 minutes Wednesday to rule that the fair market value of about 22 acres on the southwest corner of Interstate 70 and Indiana 46 is worth $1.32 million.
The property has gone through eminent domain in 2009 as the state of Indiana plans to use a portion of the property as an off-ramp for a reconfigured I-70 interchange that will connect to the Indiana 641 bypass.
However, property owners and the state could not reach an agreement in mediation in 2011, sending the issue to Vigo County Superior Court Division 2 for a jury to decide the land’s value.
Property owners Dr. Primo A. Andres, Dr. Ramon R. Contreras and Dr. Zenaida M. Contreras contend the property was valued at $1.2 million to $2.2 million.
Howard Stevenson, attorney representing the state, had urged the jury for a ruling of between $145,500 and $325,000.
The state contended no commercial development has been done on the southwest corner of the interstate, while the northwest quadrant has developed with a Walmart and several warehouses.
The state also contended a pond on the property makes the land less valuable. The state in mediation had offered $325,000.
Phil Sever, attorney for the landowners, had sought a ruling of between $875,000 and $2.2 million.
Sever said the property was purchased in 1995 as a retirement investment, but the property could not be sold in 2009 after the state unveiled its bypass plans. Sever contended appraisals for the state concluded the property could be developed for hotels, however, did not include a price comparison for land developed a Holiday Inn, land sold for $700,000.
Sever argued 11.23 acres of land that is closer in shape and size sold for $876,000, while 9.96 acres developed for a FedEx distribution center sold for $732,000. The state contended those parcels are all in the northwest quadrant of the intersection, while no development had been done in 18 years in the southwest quadrant of the intersection.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.