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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real Estate Florida.)

JACKSONVILLE, FL-A three-year eminent domain battle between the city’s Port Authority and Keystone Coal Co. appears to have reached a conclusion with the authority’s board of directors unanimously approving payment of $6.6 million in attorneys’ fees and related claims last week. The authority abandoned its taking of the 70-acre tract last July and decided not to appeal a circuit judge’s decision awarding a higher amount in legal fees.

Fort Myers-based Keystone Coal had won a record-setting verdict in May 2008 when a jury valued its land along the St. Johns River at $67.4 million, nearly quadruple far the $17-million value determined by JaxPort. Keystone Coal, which had originally agreed to buy the land for $8 million in 2005, has plans to build a $20-million terminal on the property, importing coal from South America for distribution in the Southeast and Midwest.

Andrew Brigham, an eminent domain attorney with Coral Gables-based Brigham Moore LLP who represented Keystone Coal, previously told GlobeSt.com that such jury verdicts level the ground between property owners and government entities. “While the government has this awesome power of eminent domain,” he says, “it cannot take private property without paying a just compensation.”

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