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Missouri dealer fights city’s eminent domain attempt to take store

November 22, 2010

Saturn dealer Jim Butler has become the latest car dealer to find himself at odds with local officials over an eminent domain proceeding. The city of Manchester, Mo., wants to force Butler to sell his car dealership to make way for a big new shopping center, reports St. Louis television station KSDK-TV. 

Butler says his dealership is immensely profitable. He doesn’t want to sell and says he shouldn’t be forced to sell.


The dealership sits in a prime location. For the market he serves, Butler calls his corner "the center of the world." Unfortunately, it is also the edge of a proposed new development. 

"We don’t want to move," Butler said. "And if you can tell me where another five or six acres are (in a comparable location), I’d like to hear it because I can’t find it."


The developer wants the Saturn store’s land as part of a new multimillion-dollar development. City leaders may also try to take over the dealership through eminent domain. 

A city council bill to stop eminent domain for economic gain failed by a 4-2 vote. Mayor Larry Miles says eminent domain may be necessary in this case.


Miles said: "They got to take out one or two businesses just to put the street in. So they’re going to have to be used. I’m sorry. That’s my opinion." 

Butler says he’s all for progress, just not at the expense of his business. He said: "We’re not against the development. We’re against us being included in the TIF district."


A public hearing on the matter was scheduled for late Sept. 22 in Manchester.