As Philadelphia officials negotiate to use the former Hahnemann University Hospital as quarantine or isolation space during the coronavirus pandemic, City Councilmember Helen Gym is calling for the city to consider seizing the property by eminent domain. […]
The city or state would have the power to use eminent domain, through which the government can take ownership of property that is needed for public use. […]
Whether the city can benefit from using eminent domain may depend on whether it’s able to seize the temporary use of the property — such as through a lease — rather than having to buy the property outright. […]
But George Kroculick, an attorney specializing in eminent domain cases at law firm Duane Morris in Philadelphia, said the practice does not require public bodies to take ownership of property that they condemn.
“Condemnation does not require taking all property rights,” he said. “It could also mean that the condemnor takes something less than an entire property. It could take, for example, an easement. It could condemn a lease.” […]