Charles' Eminent Domain
The man who (literally) wrote the book on eminent domain in Georgia is now writing his own ticket with his own law firm. We sat down with Charles Pursley Jr. for an interview on why he started Pursley Friese Torgrimson, how the Supreme Court impacted eminent domain, and where to watch for the next big condemnation cases in metro Atlanta.
Charles was instrumental in the creation of the modern MARTA system. After a stint in the Army and Vietnam as a judge advocate, Charles came to Georgia and joined the late firm Huie Brown & Ide and was tasked with helping MARTA condemn property to develop the system, including the property that eventually became the Five Points Station (above during its 1978 construction, you were probably at the disco when this pic was snapped) and the Peachtree Center Station. Charles says MARTA's current transit-oriented development plans—where it's getting input from developers to create mixed-use projects at various stations—has a dual purpose. "Ridership is a big part of that, and revenue is a big part of that," he tells us.
Along with Stephanie Friese and Christian Torgrimson, Charles began his new CRE transaction and litigation 8 months ago, and is more focused on condemnation cases for private developers. After the landmark Supreme Court decision that gave municipalities the right to condemn property for private redevelopment, Charles said Georgia had to literally rewrite its eminent domain laws. He was instrumental in helping draft new legislation, and even wrote the bookGeorgia Eminent Domain. (Just like last year's hit Gone Girl, it's about things disappearing. In this case, property.) Now that development is picking up again in Georgia, Charles expects some real cases to come before the court. There are "potentially huge condemnation cases" coming regarding developments in the Sandy Springs area.