Tropicana Merchants, Owners Win Eminent Domain Fight

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS - OCT 21, 2003 - San Jose leaders Tuesday abandoned their controversial plans to seize and redevelop the Tropicana Shopping Center, ending a remarkable 2 1/2-year battle in which the owners of the East Side mall took on City Hall and won. The city's decision -- coming a day after a Santa Clara County judge questioned the legal basis for the takeover -- touched off whoops and applause in a courtroom filled with business and land owners from the Latino-themed shopping center. ``I can't believe it,'' said Jesus Orozco, who runs a Tropicana jewelry store. ``The whole time I was hearing the redevelopment agency was too strong, too wealthy, too powerful. Now I realize I live in the greatest country in the world where a little guy has a chance to battle it out in court and win.'' San Jose Mercury News Article >>

In the last 18 months, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency has either bought outright or used its powers of eminent domain to move 35 companies, and anticipates relocating 64 more as part of the remake of two East San Jose shopping centers, according to public records. Of those 99 businesses, 95 are Hispanic or Asian owned.

- Silicon Valley Business Journal (Oct 11, 2002)
"City makes offer on Tropicana as owners launch legal fight"

SV BUSINESS JOURNAL - OCT 11, 2002 - The San Jose Redevelopment Agency has made its first attempt to buy a much-contested East San Jose shopping center, offering its existing owners some $15 million for the 140,000-square-foot center and 10 acres of land. The offer is less than half what the current owners say the Tropicana Center is worth, and it appears very unlikely to be accepted. SV Business Journal article >>

"Home Wreckers"

READERS DIGEST - AUGUST 2003 - William Minnich read the line again [in the newspaper]. He realized that one of the "adjacent lots" was his family's company. It was the first he'd heard of the state's intention to seize his land and uproot his business. Reader's Digest Article >>

"Is San Jose Blighted?"

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS - AUG 11, 2002 - Mention urban blight and an array of images comes to mind: crack houses, boarded-up stores and vacant lots in places like South Central Los Angeles or downtown Detroit.

But in San Jose, city officials cite a different set of ills. To justify spending tens of millions of dollars to spruce up the city’s older neighborhoods, they’ve found blight in overgrown yards, shabby roofs, graffiti tags, and garages converted into bedrooms. San Jose Mercury News article >>