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Eminent domain for historic building near Old Market put on hold

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OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - A historic building in downtown Omaha is at the center of a big discussion. Should the owner keep it or should Douglas County take it over?

"We just don't have buildings like this anymore," said Bob Perrin referring to the building he owns at 18th and Howard Streets near the Old Market.

That building is about 100 years old. It used to be home to the Army Corps of Engineers and also use to house an automobile dealership. Douglas County wants it. Perrin doesn't want to give it up. A district judge has decided the county can't take it at this point in time. The board wants the property as part of a site for a new juvenile justice center.

"Hopefully, by the time we get all of the facts in, the commissioners will decide this building is not worth taking," said Perrin.

Perrin says the building is still in good shape in spite of its old age. He's hoping to turn it into a multi-use facility complete with retail space, office space and condominiums.

"The better use for it would be to preserve it and rehab it."

Perrin told FOX 42 News his biggest issue with the county is the lack of communication.

"Nobody talked to me and nobody asked me what I was doing with it."

For now, it's a waiting game for Perrin as the future remains uncertain. At issue is whether or not Douglas County can use eminent domain authority to force Perrin to sell the buidling to the county. That's now up for the district judge to decide.

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