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LEESBURG, FL-This Lake County municipality of 15,986 permanent residents, 45 miles northwest of Downtown Orlando, is taking the high road in the purchase of a one-acre site for a new $5.5 million police station.

Seeking to avoid a court hassle on a potential eminent domain issue, Leesburg commissioners have approved a deal with Edwin Young, owner of the 42-year-old, 41,000-sf ATC-Diversified Electronics Co. structure at 103 Magnolia St. that will pay the property owner $246,000 or $6 per sf for his building.

The price is $76,000 over the appraised figure of $170,000 or $3.90 per sf. The deal closes Oct. 10.

Area real estate lawyers tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the city had planned to condemn the Downtown location and seize the property under the state’s eminent domain law. But city officials rejected that idea after learning court costs and lawyers’ fees to fight the seizure would probably exceed the $246,000 purchase price, area lawyers tell GlobeSt.com.

The 41,000-sf building will be demolished along with the existing police station on Magnolia Street between Canal and Palmetto Streets. The new station is expected to break ground in early 2002 and be ready for occupancy by first quarter 2003.

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