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Sacramento City Council Exploring Eminent Domain Against Macy's For New Kings Arena

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The owner of the Macy's Men's Department Store in downtown Sacramento doesn't appear ready to sell, and now the Sacramento City Council is considering an eminent domain claim.

The property is where a proposed downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings is supposed to begin construction a year from now.

The city council is exploring how to use the power of eminent domain—typically used to build freeways or remove blighted buildings—to take over the site that houses the department store.

"They have been unable to acquire one of the key parcels for this project," said city manager John Shirey.

The owner, a New York-based investment group called C3, is holding out and has turned down what the Sacramento Kings ownership group says is a fair price. So Vivek Ranadive turned to the city.

"Talks fell apart in late May," said assistant city manager John Dangberg, "and so they approached the city to ask for some assistance, and we are more than willing to assist them."

Eminent domain attorney David Diepenbrock says the landowner will have a tough time saving their building if they truly want to keep it, but adds there is a way.

"The property owner could object, and say this is not a public project, it's not a public purpose, this is a private project."

But while built by Kings owners, the arena will be owned by the city. And with Macy's already set to move its men's clothing to the larger women's store a block west when the lease is up in the fall, it means this is most likely just a negotiation plot.

"I think we are dealing with an entity from New York that saw an opportunity to raise the price," said Sacramento City Councilman Steve Cohn.

The Kings owners are picking up the tab on any cost related to the eminent-domain work. The city has already begun the process of appraising the building's worth.

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