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Fight for million-dollar Phoenix-area property escalates in court

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PHOENIX — The property site for a proposed fire station has ended up in Maricopa County Superior Court with the owner of a Phoenix-area health club and resort suing Scottsdale for $100 million.

Robert Hing is fighting Scottsdale’s exercising of eminent domain of vacant property near his Scottsdale Resort and Athletic Club at Indian Bend and Hayden roads.

Scottsdale wants the property to build fire station 603 and authorized the resolution to obtain the 1.5 acres at a June city council meeting.

Hing filed a liability claim against Scottsdale, which said the land had been appraised at $1.25 million. Hing, the Arizona Republic reported, said the property was worth $3 million.

“Mayor and members of the council, if you proceed with this condemnation, you will be engaged in a very long and extensive litigation process,” Hing said, according to a transcript of the meeting.

“I can assure you that we are prepared to take it all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. So if you want to proceed, this will probably become the most expensive fire station that you could imagine the city ever building,” Hing said, according to documents.

Hing said the site and the tennis club were being bought by a developer. The Phoenix Business Journal reported the developer pulled out of the deal after eminent domain was claimed.

The city had scouted other sites for the fire station, noting it didn’t want to choose a site that was “surrounded by residential development” but did want one with access to arterial roadways.

The station would replace 45-year-old Fire Station 603 at McDonald Drive near Scottsdale Road.

Councilwoman Linda Milhaven said at the meeting, “I heard Mr. Hing’s concern about the value and receiving fair value. And if we can’t agree, the city and Mr. Hing on a value, then the courts will decide what is fair and just. …”

The Hing family opened the Scottsdale Racquet Club in 1971 and by 1999 were planning the health club and resort.

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