By A.J. Hazarabedian

A building which has remained vacant for over a decade may be acquired by the City of Pasadena using the power of eminent domain.

The Pasadena Star News recently reported in their article, Pasadena may use eminent domain to seize historical building,” that the fate of Angela Chen-Sabella’s property at 78 N. Marengo Ave. will be decided during an April 12th city council meeting.

The property, which “was originally used by the Young Women’s Christian Association as a social center and place for women to stay,” has been deteriorating for years.  It has not been used as a YWCA since the 1980s and was purchased by Chen-Sabella’s company, Trove Investments, in 1996.  The article mentions previous discussions between the owner and the city regarding a potential luxury hotel on the site, although that idea never came to fruition.

Compensation has been the issue keeping the city and the property owner from coming to an agreement on the acquisition.  According to the article, “in the latest effort, the city offered about $6 million for the site, said [city attorney Michele] Bagneris, but Trove countered with an asking price of about $12 million.”

Mayor Bill Bogaard is hoping that “the threat of eminent domain will be enough to bring Trove back to the negotiating table.”

The city council will meet April 12, 2010 to discuss the adoption of a resolution of necessity, which is a governmental agency’s formal decision to acquire property by eminent domain.  The council will consider authorizing the use of eminent domain, as well as deciding whether or not to initiate eminent domain proceedings in this circumstance.