Suburban Golf Course
A 75+-year-old golf course situated on approximately 100 acres of land was condemned by a
south suburban municipality. The condemnation offer of less than $6,000,000 was based on a
highest and best use of low-density residential and outlying golf course use and was
exceptionally low in our opinion. MaRous and Company was part of a team that included a retail
market analyst, a land planner, and a major law firm, working together to analyze the highest and
best use and the resultant market value of the subject property.
The subject property had a corner location on a major arterial and also had multiple street
frontages; however, determining a value was complicated by the site’s bifurcation by a railroad
Our conclusion of highest and best use was for mixed-use development including high-intensity
commercial and single-family and multifamily residential to the east and to the west of the right-of-
way, respectively. After a lengthy period of deliberation, the judge decided to have a jury
determine whether there was a reasonable probability of rezoning of the open space-zoned parcel
to permit such uses. The litigation took several years; after extensive discovery, including
depositions, the case went to trial.
Significant testimony was provided by both sides; because the difference in market value was
nearly $20,000,000, there appeared to be little chance of a settlement. At the conclusion of the
evidence, after less than 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of $25,000,000,
consistent with the estimate of value proffered by MaRous and Company.
Due to the amount of the award, the public body abandoned its condemnation of the property and
paid all legal and professional fees. The owner, who was more than 100 years old at the time of
trial, subsequently passed away. The property later was sold for a mixed-use development
comprised of commercial and residential components.