Hockey Arena No Sure Thing

February 24, 2011 – In The News
The Morning Call

Major developer Hammes Co. of Brookfield, Wis., is looking to turn a center city Allentown lot into a minor league hockey arena for the Phantoms. However, surrounding property owners, a major development firm and a rock formation stand in the way of the project.

As the project moves forward, the surrounding property owners will probably be propositioned to sell or be served with an eminent domain filing, and according to David Snyder, this process can spark legal battles.

"You can have appeals and that could tie it up for some period of time, depending on the facts and circumstances," said Snyder. "Theoretically, it could tie it up for a couple of years."

The state in 2006 amended its eminent domain statute to restrict condemnation for private business, Snyder said. That means that if the city, the redevelopment authority or some other government body were to invoke eminent domain, it would have to justify the project as a public use.

The possibility of legal battles may delay the Phantoms’ goal of opening the 2013-14 season at the new arena.

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