Best Buy decided it wanted to build its new HQ in Richfield, Minnesota, an aging first-ring suburb of Minneapolis. The Richfield City Council wanted Best Buy to build as well. One problem: People lived there. As well as the houses, Wally McCarthy’s Oldsmobile, a venerable car dealership (the one seen in the movie “Fargo,” in fact) occupied some of the tract.
The city used eminent domain to condemn the entire tract and move everyone off their property. One day your house is your home, the place where you’ve spent 20 happy years, and the next day it’s “blighted” because the property isn’t generating as much tax revenue as it could.
The car dealership fought the confiscation, but it happened anyway. The houses were all knocked down and a suburban office park of breathtaking mediocrity went up on the site. Before the houses were demolished I swung by and shot a few rolls; the sight of these perfectly good 60s houses standing naked & empty behind wire fences was somehow disturbing, as if something horrible had happened here. In the long view, nothing horrible happened at all; in the long view, the land was reused for a more profitable purpose. Sprawl was converted into density. In the long view this is probably a wonderful turn of events.
I can say that because these weren’t my homes. Even so: I won’t say it.