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City Using Eminent Domain to Tear Down Artist's Home & Studio

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The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority is attempting to condemn James E. Dupree's studio and home in order to tear it down and put up a parking lot for the planned supermarket complex nearby. They seized the deed to the property last December, and though Mr. Dupree had hoped to come to an agreement with the city, he is now formally contesting the condemnation of his home.

The city offered Mr. Dupree less than 30% of the $2.2M value of his studio (as appraised by a real estate agent.) The city also offered to pay $40,000 to compensate for the loss of all of Mr. Dupree's work since the 70's. He estimates that his studio has around 5,000 pieces of artwork inside it, and that it would cost about a quarter of a million dollars to have it moved.

A petition has been filed to request that the city returns the deed of the property to Mr. Dupree, and protests have been scheduled. Many, including Mr. Dupree's students, are angry that the city could have such disregard for his work. As Mr. Dupree says, "Artists are kind of outraged that the officials would treat me in this manner and point a finger at me and say, 'Who do you think you are?' Especially in a city that promotes itself in the arts".
· City seizes Mantua artist's paradise to put up a parking lot [City Paper]