January 19th, 2011 — By — In News & Events
St. Louis family business secures $5.3 from MoDOT in condemnation case
A St. Louis-based frozen food company, M & L Foods, Inc., recently secured a $5.3 million from the Missouri Department of Transportation to settle an eminent domain case that required the company give up its entire property and relocate its business. MoDOT condemned the M & L property for the construction of a new Interstate 70 Mississippi River Bridge. M & L’s attorney, Robert Denlow, explained that the settlement funds will allow M & L Foods to relocate within the city and continue operating this St. Louis-based business after more than 100 years. [Disclosure: Robert Denlow is the Missouri Member of the Owners’ Counsel of America.]
M & L’s property consisted of nearly two acres and included a 26,795-square-foot building that housed the company’s headquarters and served as its wholesale distribution center. MoDOT condemned the property to construct the western approaches to the new bridge. MoDOT’s initial offer was $1.9 million, which Mr. Denlow argued, was not enough to relocate the business or allow it to construct a new replacement facility.
“Just because a building can be sold for something doesn’t mean there’s a replacement right around the corner,” said Denlow. “The $5.3 million is what we believe it would cost to replace the existing facility.”
“We looked at it as more than just bricks and mortar. It would have been easier and cheaper for them just to go elsewhere, but they were committed to being part of the St. Louis fabric,” Denlow said. He explained that M & L needed to be in the city near its original location in order to continue servicing the company’s clientele.
Mr. Denlow credits MoDOT and its attorney, Paul Sterrett, for working to reach this settlement with his client. Denlow called it “a terrific result” for the two families who own the business and their 33 employees.
More details about this settlement are available in Missouri Lawyers Media under Verdicts & Settlements for January 16, 2011.