Drew K. Kapur practices in the area of real estate law known as land value litigation. The primary focus of his practice is on the areas of eminent domain and condemnation, relocation assistance, and highway access management and control. Mr. Kapur represents private property owners whose property has been taken for transportation right of way and urban redevelopment projects, as well as representing private and public sector clients in condemnations involving environmentally sensitive properties. Mr. Kapur also represents property owners in ad valorem tax appeals.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Kapur served for more than 16 years as Deputy Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, for the State of New Jersey, in which capacity he represented the state on several significant condemnation cases. He also advised the New Jersey Department of Transportation on state highway access issues.
Mr. Kapur has served as Special Condemnation Counsel for the Borough of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, for acquisition of open space, the Camden, New Jersey, Redevelopment Agency in connection with court-mandated educational infrastructure improvements, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in connection with the Pennsylvania Convention Center expansion project.
Admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Carolina, Mr. Kapur is a member of the American, New Jersey and Camden County bar associations as well as the International Right of Way Association, and is an affiliate member of the Appraisal Institute. He is listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2007-2011 editions. Mr. Kapur is a 1981 graduate of Loyola University School of Law and a graduate, with honors, of North Carolina State University.
- Mr. Kapur is currently representing Olga's Diner, a landmark diner in Southern New Jersey, in a condemnation matter instituted by the State of New Jersey, involving the closing of the diner and the offering of a sum of money as just compensation, in connection with a highway project.
- Mr. Kapur is currently representing Maple Shade Mazda in a condemnation matter instituted by the State of New Jersey, involving modification of a dealership's access to a state highway and condemnation of the property, in connection with a highway project.
- Mr. Kapur tried a condemnation action instituted by the New Jersey Department of Transportation against a gas station in Chester Borough, N.J. NJDOT determined certain roadway improvements were needed at the intersection of a state highway (Route 206) and a county road in the borough. These improvements necessitated the taking of the property owner's right of access to the state highway. As a result, fuel trucks no longer were able to make deliveries to the site. NJDOT asserted that after the taking, the property could be used as an automotive-service garage, utilizing the county highway as access, and offered the property owner $340,000 as just compensation. The property owner's experts opined, however, that such a use was not a permitted use on the property and would necessitate multiple bulk and use variances from the borough, as well as the county and state governments, which could not be obtained. The property owner's appraiser opined the property has no utility after the taking and therefore just compensation should be $1.16 million. A jury returned a $1.1 million verdict for the property owner.
- Mr. Kapur represented the owner of a closed gas station property located on a state highway (Route 35) in Woodbridge Township, N.J. The New Jersey Department of Transportation took the property owner's right of direct access to Route 35, plus 9,601 square feet of land, depriving the property of ingress and egress to Route 35. The state's appraiser and property owner's appraisers all agreed that prior to the taking, the property's highest and best use was as a retail gasoline service station. All the experts also agreed that after the taking, the property could no longer be used as a retail gasoline service station, but must be put to some less intense commercial use. The state originally offered the property owner $143,500 as just compensation for the taking and damages to the remainder, which was based upon the assumption the property would continue to have reasonable access after the Route 35 driveways were closed. The property owner rejected the state's offer, and the state instituted condemnation proceedings. Over the next several years, meetings were held between the property owner and NJDOT regarding the reasonableness of alternative access to the site. Eventually, NJDOT agreed that reasonable alternative access could not, in fact, be provided to the site. As a result, NJDOT was required to reappraise the property. NJDOT's revised appraisal estimated just compensation for the taking and damages to the remainder to be $626,700. The property owner's expert estimated just compensation to be $1.04 million. Mr. Kapur settled the case at trial for $875,000. The property was recently improved with a branch bank.
- Mr. Kapur represented the owner of a property located on a state highway (Route 73) in Evesham Township, N.J., that is operated a large discount liquor store. The property formerly consisted of 2.724 acres, with a two-way and in-only driveways along Route 73. The state, however, closed the two-way driveway and reconfigured the in-only driveway to accommodate two-way traffic. In order to accomplish this modification, the state took a temporary construction easement over 17,990 square feet (0.413 acres) of the site. The temporary construction easement included both driveways, portions of the parking lot in the vicinity of both driveways, and the drive/parking aisle in front of the building. The state originally offered the property owner $95,000 as just compensation for the taking and damages to the remainder. The property owner's expert estimated just compensation to be $420,000, including in his estimate damages due to onsite maneuverability issues created by the modification of access and the temporary construction easement, which it was discovered the state had specifically instructed its appraiser not to value. Mr. Kapur settled the case on the eve of trial for $219,000.
- Mr. Kapur currently represents the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in connection with the acquisition of three properties in Philadelphia needed for the $700,000,000 expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. When it is complete, the PCC will contain over 1,000,000 square feet of saleable space, making it the largest contiguous exhibit space in the Northeast. Mr. Kapur has acquired properties improved with office, retail and condominium buildings, as well as surface parking lots. The aggregate of the estimated just compensation for these properties is approximately $50,000,000.
- Mr. Kapur represented a gasoline retailer in connection with a partial taking condemnation by NJDOT in Berlin Township. NJDOT constructed a reverse loop ramp on the property taken that encircles existing gas station, and raised the grade of the adjacent highway approximately six feet. Prior to the taking, NJDOT negotiated with the property owner based on an appraisal of approximately $1.5 million for the taking. When the gasoline retailer rejected the State's offer and NJDOT was forced to institute condemnation proceedings, it had the property appraised by a second appraiser for only $650,000, which it offered to the property owner. Mr. Kapur moved to exclude the second appraisal, which motion was granted. As a result, the State went back to its original appraiser, who prepared an appraisal concluding just compensation as of the date of taking was $1,779,000. The case settled for $2,400,000.
- Mr. Kapur represented the world's largest retailer when Rowan University condemned a fully approved site in connection with a University expansion project in Harrison Township. Rowan initially offered the retailer $2.85 million for the site based on an appraisal that predated the institution of the action, which occurred at a time when real estate values in the area were booming. Rowan argued that the earlier date of value was appropriate since it had taken actions which affected the "use and enjoyment" of the property. Mr. Kapur moved for a later date of value, i.e., the date of the filing of the condemnation complaint, which motion was granted. The later valuation date resulted in Rowan's reappraisal of the property for $5,550,000.
- Mr. Kapur tried a condemnation action instituted by the NJDOT against a local Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Berlin Borough. NJDOT presented testimony the value of the part taken was $274,000. Mr. Kapur argued that the State's appraiser did not consider all damages to the property. Specifically, as a result of the taking the highest and best use changed from an intense commercial use, such a free standing pharmacy, before the taking to a less intense commercial use after. A jury returned a verdict for the property owner in the amount of $772,000.
- Mr. Kapur represented the Camden Redevelopment Agency in the acquisition of an 11-acre site improved with a garden apartment complex containing eighteen multifamily buildings adjacent to a Superfund site in the City. Prior to the construction of the apartment complex, the subject property and the Superfund site were one property. CRA's appraiser estimated the value of the subject property unaffected by environmental concerns was $7.7 million. However, CRA's environmental consultant estimated it will cost $7.5 million to remediate contamination on the property. CRA instituted condemnation proceedings to acquire title to the property and terminate the leasehold interests of approximately 220 tenants. Mr. Kapur then negotiated a settlement fixing just compensation for the property "as if remediated" in the amount of $8,150,000 but requiring the estimated remediation costs remain in an escrow account until remediation is complete and actual costs are known.
- Mr. Kapur represented the owner of an Ocean City, NJ retail property that was taken by NJDOT in connection with the Ninth Street bridge. NJDOT had offered the property owner $725,000 for his entire property, of which it stated $180,000 would have to be held in escrow to fund groundwater remediation by the State's contractor. On the eve of trial, Mr. Kapur negotiated a settlement of $1,055,000. In addition, Mr. Kapur obtained the release of all escrow funds after remediation was completed by a contractor paid for by the property owner for only $80,000, and a "no further action" letter was obtained from NJDEP
- Mr. Kapur currently represents the Diocese of Camden in connection with an NJDOT taking of approximately 6 acres of prime burial ground at New St. Mary's Cemetery in the Borough of Bellmawr. The property to be acquired has been identified as the site for a much needed cemetery expansion. The proposed alignment of the highway comes within 10 feet of existing mausoleum. The highway, which is currently below the grade condition of the cemetery, will be reconstructed approximately 25 feet about the cemetery.
- Mr. Kapur represented the owner of a 65,000 square foot warehouse in Perth Amboy that was condemned by the Perth Amboy Redevelopment Agency. PARA initially offered the property owner what it had paid for the property two years prior, $1.5 million. PARA also required the property owner to agree to pay to actual costs of remediating asbestos, soil, and groundwater contamination (estimated by the redeveloper to be $467,000), and the property owner relocate its textile wholesaling business at its own expense. On the eve of trial, Mr. Kapur negotiated a settlement of just compensation for the property of $2,115,000 "as if remediated," and PARA agreed the redeveloper would perform all environmental remediation of the property at its own expense and the property owner have no further liability therefor. PARA also agreed to pay the property owner an additional $135,000 as relocation expenses.
- Mr. Kapur successfully represented the owner a small motel in Cinnaminson Township that was needed for a local redevelopment project. The Township offered the property owner $1.3 million for the property, which it rejected. Mr. Kapur negotiated a purchase of the property for $2.0 million before a condemnation action was instituted.
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, J.D., 1981
- North Carolina State University, B.A., with honors, 1978
- American Bar Association
- New Jersey State Bar Association
- Camden County Bar Association
- International Right of Way Association (IRWA)
- Appraisal Institute
- Affiliate Member
Honors and Awards
- Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2007-2012 editions
- Mr. Kapur was profiled in the "Women and Minorities in the Legal Profession" special report of The New Jersey Law Journal, August 2005
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Co-author, "New Jersey Property Owners Who Suffered Significant Damages as a Result of Hurricane Sandy May Be Entitled to Property Tax Relief," Duane Morris Alert, November 13, 2012
- Co-author, "N.J. Supreme Court Decides Level of Causation Required to Seek Damages Under the Spill Act," Duane Morris Alert, October 12, 2012; Republished in Expert Analysis sections of Environmental, Real Estate and Appellate Law360, October 16, 2012
- Interviewed for "Highway through Heaven: Road overhaul threatens mausoleum in Bellmawr," The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 2011
- Author, "Noncompensatory Damages in a Tax Assessment Appeal," Condemnation Zoning & Land Use, ABA Section of Litigation's Committee on Condemnation, Zoning, & Land Use, 2009 Annual Review
- Co-author, "Delaware Governor Vetoes Bill Restricting Use of Eminent Domain," Duane Morris Alert, July 2, 2008
- Author, "Pennsylvania Supreme Court Finds Extremely Limited Access to Commercial Property Was De Facto Taking," Duane Morris Alert, June 16, 2008
- Co-author, "Jersey Courts Hold the Line Against Bad Faith Condemnation: Power to Take Cannot Be Used to Achieve Zoning," New Jersey Lawyer, October 2004
Selected Speaking Engagements
- "Complex Commercial Litigation: Taking Expert Valuation Skills to the Next Level," Appraisal Institute Annual Meeting, Indianapolis, Indiana, July 24, 2013
- Speaker, "Easement Valuations: Common Pitfalls and Principles," Lorman Teleconference, December 3, 2009
- "Writing the Report, Preparation for Trial, and The Expert Witness," Real Estate Valuation in Litigation class, Burlington County College, Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, May 1, 2006