St. Paul Minn. Property Rights

Saint Paul Port Authority v. Advance Shoring Company
Beyond Its Authority: Eminent Domain Abuse By the St. Paul Port Authority

In one of Minnesota’s most hotly contested battles over eminent domain, St. Paul-based Advance Shoring Company is now safe from condemnation by the St. Paul Port Authority.  Following stiff opposition from the nearly 50-year-old company, its employees, unions and the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter, the Port Authority decided not to use eminent domain to take the company’s property.

In September 2008, the Port Authority stated its intention to acquire by eminent domain 10 acres of Advance’s property near Interstate 35E and Maryland Avenue in the Arlington-Jackson section of St. Paul.  That same fall, Advance’s owners and allies asked the St. Paul City Council not to authorize the Port Authority’s plan to destroy this successful business for a yet-to-be-identified business and an unspecific use requiring more than $10 million in government subsidies.

Based on Advance’s testimony and legal arguments, the City Council stopped a possible condemnation and asked that the Port Authority negotiate with Advance.  At the Port Authority’s request, Advance entered into an agreement that gave the Port Authority an opportunity to provide Advance with potential relocation sites.  The Port Authority gave Advance a list of sites with some as far away as St. Cloud—more than 75 miles away from its prime location in St. Paul—and none of which met Advance’s needs or were immediately available.

Advance refused to accept a relocation site that could have destroyed its business, instead remaining firm in its commitment that the government did not have the right to take its land for speculative redevelopment purposes.  The Port Authority subsequently advised Advance that it was dropping plans to take the company’s property.

“I’m breathing a sigh of relief for our business and employees,” said Karen Haug, CEO of Advance Shoring Company.  “Since the early 1990’s, the Port Authority has planned to take our property for someone else’s private use.  We’ve lived under the threat of eminent domain for nearly 20 years.  I’m thrilled the Port Authority has decided not to use its power of condemnation to take our property.  Now we can return to running our business.”


Essential Background


Backgrounder: Beyond Its Authority: Eminent Domain Abuse By the St. Paul Port Authority

none available

Latest Release: St. Paul Port Authority Won’t Take Property by Eminent Domain (June 10, 2009)

Launch Release: St. Paul Port Authority Attempts End-Run Around Minnesota’s Popular Eminent Domain Reform (October 15, 2008)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Letter and memo to the St. Paul City Council (PDF)


Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


October 15, 2008

Court Filed:





Port Authority withdraws condemnation request.





Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Eminent Domain Taking in St. Paul On Hold for Now  December 4, 2008

none available




Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Article: Victory Highlights Strength of Minnesota's Eminent Domain Reforms; Liberty & Law (August 2009)

Article: IJ Fights Eminent Domain Scheme That Would Rob From Peter to Give to St. Paul; Liberty & Law (December 2008)

Article: In St. Paul, an abuse of eminent domain, Star Tribune October 17, 2008

Article: St. Paul Port Authority gives up eminent domain battle, Legal Ledger, June 12, 2009

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