Every now and then, it is worth posing that question. I don't mean to prejudge the answer:
The state, needing some of Lerner's land in Tysons to build a Metro station and tracks there, took it by eminent domain and paid the developer about $24 million for the property two years ago. Construction is underway on the new station, slated for the corner of Chain Bridge Road and Tysons Boulevard.
But that price – set just a few months before real estate values went into a freefall – almost immediately appeared to the cash-strapped state to be too high. The discrepancy led the transportation department and the hard-bargaining developer into a court battle over what the property was worth at the time it was taken, in November 2008.
Earlier this month, a Fairfax County jury agreed with the state that it had overpaid for the property, saying that one Lerner parcel was worth only $19.3 million, less than the $22.8 million Lerner was originally paid. It ruled that a much smaller parcel was worth just $313,000, not the $1.5 million that was originally paid.
Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge David S. Schell confirmed the decision Nov. 19, ordering that the Lerners pay the state $5.1 million for the excess and interest.
The full story is here.