NORFOLK - The owners of several Norfolk companies will get to keep their land.
The Virginia Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority didn't have the right to take property for expansion at Old Dominion University.
Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority condemned more than 170 residential, institutional and business buildings in the Hampton Boulevard area near Old Dominion University. The area, a public-private partnership called 'The District,' will become a new dormitory for 900 Old Dominion University students, a grocery store, drug store and other businesses.
At issue was whether the NRHA acted within the law. In 2007, the General Assembly banned the use of eminent domain for commercial redevelopment, legal experts advise. In November 2012,voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment making it harder for the commonwealth to take private property for commercial use.
'We won,' attorney Joe Waldo told WVEC.com. 'The justices ruled NRHA didn't have a right to take the property from PKO Enterprisesand now ODU and NRHA have to give back the 10-unit apartment building on W. 41st Street.'
Waldo also said Thursday's ruling ends the condemnation suit against Central Radio, a family-owned defense contractor and dissolves the legal basis for condemning Norva Plastics, a plastic fabrication business.
'We're thrilled beyond belief,' said Bob Wilson, owner of Central Radio told WVEC.com. 'After 15 years of fighting this, to have this come down to this one day, it's great.'
Wilson says the company is his life's work and he hopes to pass it on to his children.
There will be a press conference Thursday afternoon with the property owners to talk about the decision. It's at 2:00 p.m. in front of the apartment building at 1069 W. 41st Street.