Lindenwood University officials want the city to use the controversial power of eminent domain to force out a heating and air conditioning business to make way for a new fine and performing arts center.
Lindenwood President Dennis Spellmann asked city officials Tuesday night to consider using such authority to allow a redevelopment corporation, headed by Spellmann and two other university officials, to purchase a 4-acre site along West Clay Street near the northwest corner of West Clay and First Capitol Drive. The private university has already acquired about 20 acres for the project.
The 138,000-square-foot, $32 million complex would feature a 1,375-seat auditorium for live performances as well as classrooms, rehearsal studios and office space. University officials hope to begin construction before the end of the year.
Local universities seem to have some sort of phallic competition regarding these venuews; UMSL has opened one which continues to struggle with low attendance and debt, but the president of Lindenwood wants the city of St. Charles to steal some land to give his university land to build another. Well, not the university, per se, but a redevelopment corporation run by him and a couple of other officials.
But he’s been pushed to the end of the rope:
Spellmann said he’s avoided using eminent domain to acquire property in the past but thinks the university has exhausted its options in this case.
Spellman’s damn benevolent to avoid using his power of stealing private property, but he’s almost exhausted all options.
But Spellman fails to, purposefully I would suspect, to take the remaining legitimate option available to the university: Build his boondoggle somewhere else. Or don’t bother. Two options Spellman doesn’t include in his list of options for confiscating someone else’s land for his own ends.