Pontiac, Michigan – October 22, 2014
Pursuant to a written opinion issued today, the Oakland County Circuit Court dismissed the City of Pontiac’s condemnation action seeking to demolish the Phoenix Center Parking Deck & Plaza, including its iconic amphitheater and canopy in Pontiac, Michigan. The Court ruled that the City of Pontiac had not made a good faith offer to the Ottawa Towers for their vested property rights in the Phoenix Center. In condemnation cases, the condemning authority must make a good faith offer to the holder(s) of the property being condemned before the Court has jurisdiction to hear the case. The condemning authority’s offer must account for all interests, including liens, mortgages, and other encumbrances. Judge Michael Warren found that the City of Pontiac’s offer was deficient because it did not properly account for all of the interests at issue, including a more than $1 million dollar lien filed by the Ottawa Towers to secure payment for deferred maintenance and upkeep of the Phoenix Center.
The City of Pontiac, acting through appointed officials, commenced a condemnation action in the Oakland County Circuit Court, and sued the Ottawa Towers as defendants to seize their property rights. City officials sought to tear down the Phoenix Center with no plan for what will replace it, and without regard to the physical damage that would result to the Ottawa Towers office buildings. The Ottawa Towers are two, eight-story office towers in Pontiac, Michigan that are physically and logistically connected and integrated with the Phoenix Center. The owners of the Ottawa Towers are represented by the General & Complex Litigation Group at Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller, P.C., in Southfield, Michigan and the law firm of Steinhardt, Pesick & Cohen, P.C., in Birmingham, Michigan.
Due to Pontiac’s abandonment of its responsibilities to maintain the Phoenix Center, the Ottawa Towers have spent more than $1,000,000 to repair and maintain the parking garage for the benefit of everyone who uses it. Repairs include restoring the lighting in the south side of the parking deck and in the portion of Orchard Lake Road that traverses beneath the Phoenix Center. At their expense, Ottawa Towers also restored power and lighting in the Orchard Lake Tunnel and the road is now reopened to the public. Ottawa Towers have offered to assume the repair, maintenance and operational obligations for the Phoenix Center, but their offers have been rebuffed by City officials.