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Legal News: DC to Acquire a Wendy's by Eminent Domain

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D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and city transportation officials said they used eminent domain to acquire the title for the property where a Wendy’s restaurant sits in the center of New York and Florida avenues and First Street NE. The intersection is often referred to as “Dave Thomas Circle,” nicknamed after the founder of the Wendy’s fast-food chain. In a new lawsuit, the D.C. government plans to use eminent domain to seize the property of the Wendy's at New York and Florida Avenues. 

The eminent domain proposal is for a new landscaped public spaces and roadway change which involves realigning First Street NE to connect with Eckington Place, making Florida Avenue two-way through the area. The overall concept for the new landscaped public spaces that will emerge when those roadways are finally realigned will be free of fast food and perhaps some traffic. It is planned to include a host of bike lane infrastructure and crosswalks. The plans are currently with the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

D.C.’s fiscal 2021 budget includes $35 million for the District to acquire the Wendy’s property. Whether through a straight purchase or, if necessary, eminent domainin addition to design and construction. The Wendy's property has an assessed value of roughly $8 million for 2021, 92% of which is in the land. Intersection work isn’t expected to get started until late next year.

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