What you are looking at to the right is a monument to government folly.
It is the vacant lot where the home of Susette Kelo once stood.
A decade ago, the town of New London, Connecticut claimed Kelo’s house by right of eminent domain. The plan was to demolish the residential neighbourhood so that Pfizer could built a massive research and development plant on the adjacent land. Pfizer got the land for next to nothing. Five Supreme Court justices upheld the taking, ruling that although the primary beneficiary was a corporation, it met the constitutional requirement of “public use.”
Now Pfizer has announced that it is shutting down the plant.
The Hartford Courant reports:
Pfizer Inc. will shut down its massive New London research and development headquarters and transfer most of the 1,400 people working there to Groton, the pharmaceutical giant said Monday….
Pfizer is now deciding what to do with its giant New London offices, and will consider selling it, leasing it and other options, a company spokeswoman said.
Scott Bullock, Kelo’s co-counsel in the case, told the Examiner’s Tim Carney: “This shows the folly of these redevelopment projects that use massive taxpayer subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare and abuse eminent domain.”
Here’s how the Associated Press describes the vacant lot:
Weeds, glass, bricks, pieces of pipe and shingle splinters have replaced the knot of ageing homes at the site of the nation’s most notorious eminent domain project.
There are a few signs of life: Feral cats glare at visitors from a miniature jungle of Queen Anne’s lace, thistle and goldenrod. Gulls swoop between the lot’s towering trees and the adjacent sewage treatment plant.
The promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues vanished when the housing bubble popped and brought on the recession.
Vacant lot photo credit:
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