The [url=http://journalstar.com/]Lincoln Journal Star[/url] is reporting that John Q. Hammons, owner of the local Embassy Suites, is going to build a [url=http://journalstar.com/articles/2004/12/15/top_story/doc41bf9cfa6cdef129774578.txt]new hotel in Downtown Lincoln[/url]. The (supposed) site of the hotel is the block surrounded by 17th, 18th, P and Q Streets. If true, this is fantastic news for Downtown Lincoln. Although to be honest I think the choice of location is a bit odd. Who wants to stay in a hotel in that part of Downtown? Parents of UNL students coming to visit?
One aspect of the story really worries me: nobody has told the current property owners on that block about the plan. At least one property owner, interviewed by the LJS, may not be a willing seller. As the LJS implies, that may not be a problem:
As part of the Antelope Valley Project, the city could use its power of eminent domain to acquire the land, if negotiations failed.
That, my friends, is crap. It's also true. Although the Supreme Court has clamped down on abuses of eminent domain in recent years, abuses still continue across the country. Eminent domain is supposed
to be used only in extreme circumstances. Over time, however, more and more communities have abused their powers on behalf of "community improvement" projects like sports stadiums and concert halls. Landowners are rarely compensated well when they are kicked off their property.
This story will be fascinating to keep an eye on.