By A.J. Hazarabedian

The Palace Hotel was once a “hub of activity” back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and now sits, decaying, deteriorated and vacant.  For over twenty years, the 119-year-old hotel building has remained vacant, with city officials gently suggesting to the owners that they clean it up.

Now, The Press-Democrat reports in their article, Ukiah seeks a new life for Palace Hotel,” that the city is considering reinstating the power of eminent domain which will give them the authority to either force the owners to rehabilitate the property or sell it to the city.

According to the article, the owners, real estate agents Eladia Laines and Mike Leddy, were somewhat cooperative, having hosted a wine and cheese gathering last year, showing off plans to remodel the hotel into condominiums and businesses.  They would also occasionally add some paint to the building, board up broken windows; keeping the property just above a public safety hazard.  However, the owners have now been out of touch for almost eight months.  Neither the city nor Friends of the Palace (a group formed to support rehabilitation efforts) have been able to contact them.

The Ukiah Redevelopment Agency’s power of eminent domain, which expired nine years ago because of infrequent use, will now be considered for reinstatement as a last ditch effort.