Last Updated May 14, 2019

Law and Practice

Contributed By McGuireWoods LLP

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McGuireWoods LLP has a diverse real estate practice of more than 80 lawyers and land use planners in its offices in Tysons, Charlottesville, Richmond and Norfolk, with skills in a wide range of traditional and non-traditional real estate transactions. The firm’s transactional representation spans all aspects of real estate acquisition, development, financing and disposition, including acquisition, sale, leasing and financing transactions, as well as project finance, construction, public-private partnerships, negotiation of local and state incentives and privatization transactions. The team respresents clients around the world on various sides of such transactions, including Fortune 500 companies. The transactional practice is complemented by the firm’s land use expertise, as it frequently handles zoning and land use matters for development projects.

Local governments enjoy the ability to potentially condemn property for public purpose; this authority is derived from Va. Code §15.2-1901. Prior to any condemnation, the locality must hold a public hearing and adopt a resolution or ordinance approving the proposed public use in directing the acquisition of the property. There are also jurisdictional procedures and prerequisites to filing a condemnation action (ie, notice, appraisals, offers and negotiations) under the applicable law: the property condemned must be for a “public use”, which requires the property to be within the control of the condemning authority. Said differently, there must be a right by the public or some public agency to use the property as a matter of right as opposed to a favor or a license. A taking is generally not for public use “if the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue or economic development.” However, the fact that the property may also incidentally benefit some private individuals does not destroy the public use. Ultimately, the public interest must dominate any private gain. The condemnor has the burden of proving public use but courts generally do not inquire into the locality’s good faith in initiating condemnation proceedings if the locality’s purpose is clearly stated in the resolution or ordinance. 

McGuireWoods LLP

1750 Tysons Boulevard
Suite 1800
Tysons, VA 22102-4215

+1 703 712 5000

+1 703 712 5050

info@mcguirewoods.com www.mcguirewoods.com
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Authors



McGuireWoods LLP has a diverse real estate practice of more than 80 lawyers and land use planners in its offices in Tysons, Charlottesville, Richmond and Norfolk, with skills in a wide range of traditional and non-traditional real estate transactions. The firm’s transactional representation spans all aspects of real estate acquisition, development, financing and disposition, including acquisition, sale, leasing and financing transactions, as well as project finance, construction, public-private partnerships, negotiation of local and state incentives and privatization transactions. The team respresents clients around the world on various sides of such transactions, including Fortune 500 companies. The transactional practice is complemented by the firm’s land use expertise, as it frequently handles zoning and land use matters for development projects.

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