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NLRSD files for eminent domain to condemn North Main Street property for new school

Construction crews work on the parking lot of the former Waffle House on Main Street, which is across the street from Douglas Holdings Inc.’s property that the North Little Rock School District wants to claim through eminent domain. However, the property owners have filed its own court documentation stating the NLRSD has no right to take its property. (Photo by Greg Rayburn)Buy Photo
Construction crews work on the parking lot of the former Waffle House on Main Street, which is across the street from Douglas Holdings Inc.’s property that the North Little Rock School District wants to claim through eminent domain. However, the property owners have filed its own court documentation stating the NLRSD has no right to take its property. (Photo by Greg Rayburn)

The North Little Rock School District earlier this month filed a motion to exercise its power of eminent domain and condemn the real property at 2300 N. Main St. as it continues its plan to bring new school facilities here.

According to court actions filed on Oct. 3 in the Pulaski County Circuit Court, the property is owned by Douglas Holdings, Inc. The property’s agent is North Little Rock attorney Lisa Douglas.

According to the district’s findings, the court has jurisdiction pursuant to the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the school district is accredited by the Arkansas Department of Education.

Douglas Holdings purchased the property in 2009.

According to the court filings, the property is needed for the school renovation project.

“On May 19, 2011, the School District approved the Capital Improvement Plan (“CIP”) that will bring a combination of new construction, renovations, and consolidation of facilities from 21 campuses to 13 campuses,” according to the filing. “On February 14, 2012, the voters of North Little Rock passed a millage to help fund the CIP. The expansion of North Little Rock High School’s West Campus is one of many projects in the CIP.”

The district is asking the court for the title to portions of the property.

“Specifically, the School District intends to acquire 9,982 square feet of the subject property,” according to the motion. “The 9,982 square feet is located to the south of the office building and is surplus land used for parking.”

After months of negotiations in good faith to purchase the real property subject to the action voluntarily, the School District authorized the order of an appraisal of the real property. Additionally, it approved taking the real property using eminent domain if a settlement could not be reached.

On Sept. 30, the school board authorized eminent domain action.

“Although representatives of Douglas Holdings and the School District have attempted to negotiate a sale of the subject property to the School District, the parties were unable to reach agreement on its voluntary sale,” according to the court filing.

The motion continues, “The School District now seeks to condemn and acquire fee simple title to certain portions of the real property subject to this action as part of a campus expansion project for North Little Rock High School’s West Campus. The expansion will consist of new school buildings as well as a new stadium and other necessary uses incidental to the maintenance of North Little Rock High School and the welfare of its teachers and pupils.”

The School District estimates that just compensation for the 9,982 square feet being taken is $50,000.

“The School District, therefore, requests that the Court allow it to deposit into the registry of the Court $50,000.00 for the use and benefit of the persons entitled to the just compensation,” the filing continues. “Upon depositing the amount estimated to be just compensation for the property being taken, the School District requests that the Court enter an immediate order of possession so that the School District may lawfully enter upon the lands to proceed with its work of construction.”

The school district is asking the court enters an order allowing the district to deposit the $50,000 with the court’s registry.

The district also wants Douglas Holdings Inc. to “surrender of possession of said lands to the School District, providing the School District with the immediate right of possession of the lands upon the deposit of just compensation, and awarding to the School District all other relief to which the School District may be entitled.”

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