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Still Mum in Arlington County

We’ve growled four separate times now (November 20, November 22, December 4, and January 5, 2012) about Arlington County’s efforts, including the possible use of eminent domain, “to acquire a seven-story commercial building, 2020 14th Street North, the county hopes to use for staff offices and “a year-round homeless-services center,” according to an online report in today’s Arlington Sun Times Gazette. (Apologies to the good people at the Arlington Sun Gazette. El Growler Grande)

Here is how the newspaper reported the latest news:

“County Board Chairman Mary Hynes on Jan. 21 said the county government had made a final offer to the owner of the building, and expected to hear back in the “next few days.” When queried a few days later, both sides declined to shed light on the status of negotiations.

“Brookfield has no comment at this time,” said Andrew Willis, senior vice president of communications and media for Canada-based Brookfield Asset Management, which owns the building at 2020 14th Street North that county officials covet.

“County officials have made a number of offers to the building’s owner, but have so far been rebuffed. Officials have taken the highly unusual step of publicly threatening to use their power of eminent domain to acquire the building, whose value was pegged by an appraiser at $25 million.

“Mary Curtius, a spokesman for the county government, also declined to comment on the status of negotiations.”

The newspaper’s Scott McCaffrey closed by saying:

“County officials may be playing a game of beat the clock, as the General Assembly is likely to send to voters a constitutional amendment that, if approved, would make it more complicated and potentially much more expensive for local governments to use their powers of eminent domain to acquire property. If approved by the legislature, that measure would go to state voters in November.”

What a way to run a local government!

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