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City solicitor: 'Uncertain' if city will be successful in buying King Records

Eminent domain case could take months, years
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Posted at 11:24 AM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 11:24:05-05

CINCINNATI -- While the City of Cincinnati is taking steps to protect and purpose the historic King Records building, the city solicitor said the eminent domain case isn't a slam dunk.

"The likelihood of success -- defined as winning the litigation and triggering the obligation to pay the property owner the court-determined amount for the property -- is uncertain, given that all litigation carries with it a multitude of unknowns," City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething said in an email.

Boggs Muething said eminent domain cases -- when a government expropriates private property for public use -- typically take 3 to 6 months to resolve, but that the city has worked on similar cases that took years.

Regardless, the property on Woodburn Avenue in Evanston will be cared for, she said.

"During that time, there are tools at the City's disposal to ensure the safety and security of the property in so far as conditions are not in compliance with local code enforcement and property maintenance laws," the attorney said.

The city council's budget and finance committee approved a resolution Tuesday expressing intent to purchase the former King Records property with intent to preserve it. Several musicians who recorded at King, including Bootsy Collins, Philip Paul and Otis Williams, spoke in support of efforts to preserve the building during the committee meeting Tuesday.

"Everybody in there, they saw the light," Collins said. "The people that are trying to hold us up, they're going to feel the light too."

King Records closed in 1971. The building is now owned by Dynamic Industries, which has plans to teat it down. A lawyer representing the company didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The city council declared the site a Local Historic Landmark in 2015.

Dynamic Industries is seeking a demolition permit. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.

Reporter Jordan Burgess and Web Editor Joe Rosemeyer contributed to this report.