The vast majority of Florida businesses use private property to conduct their commercial enterprises. For many of these businesses, road frontage and high traffic count are critically important to the businesses’ success. Fast food and petroleum marketer businesses, for example, depend on road frontage and heavy traffic to attract their customers.
This proximity to busy roadways makes these businesses a prime target for an eminent domain acquisition. Indeed, community and political pressure often demand that traffic is improved, and the widening of roads — and the corresponding taking of businesses’ private property rights — usually follow.
Fortunately for Florida businesses, Florida’s eminent domain laws contain strong protections for commercial entities faced with an eminent domain taking. These protections enable business owners to be paid fully and fairly for the taking of their property rights, and that compensation can, in certain circumstances, even include business damages.
In Florida, business damages consist of, “lost profits, loss of goodwill, and costs related to the moving and selling equipment” that are attributable to an eminent domain taking. See Systems Components Corp v. Dep’t of Transportation, 985 So.2d 687, 690 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008).
For a Florida business to qualify for business damages, the business must: (1) have been established at the place of the taking for at least five years; (2) be subject to a partial — as opposed to a whole — taking of property by a Florida public entity (e.g., the Florida Department of Transportation, a county, or a city); (3) utilize the part of the property acquired in the conduct of the business; and (4) meet certain procedural requirements (e.g., the business must file a business damage claim and supportive information in a timely fashion).
Fixel & Willis’s attorneys, through their decades of experience practicing Florida eminent domain law, have handled hundreds of eminent domain matters for Florida businesses. This experience has enabled Fixel & Willis to handle eminent domain matters for almost every conceivable type of Florida business, including restaurants, retail stores, hotels/motels, petroleum marketers sites, mini-storage businesses, insurance agencies, printing businesses, farming operations, medical offices, banks, and auto centers.
In handling these business related claims, Fixel & Willis’s attorneys learn about the unique qualities of each affected business and associate well-trained business valuation and site analyst experts to detail how that particular business will be affected by the relevant taking of property. If you have a question about how your business may be affected by eminent domain taking in Florida, please contact Fixel & Willis’s firm administrator, Susie Harris, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone toll-free at 1-800-848-7535.