In Kelo v. New London, the Supreme Court four years ago decided 5-4 that New London, Connecticut could condemn and acquire 26 acres of a neighborhood to build hotels, condos, and a Pfizer research center.
The landmark case involved a white-hot controversial ruling concerning eminent domain. Historically, eminent domain has been used by governments to expand public utilities, highways, and railroads but it's increasingly being used to promote economic renewal (often coupled with tax credits to business moving in) in depressed urban environments.
Soon after the ruling, New London spent nearly $80 million preparing the land but the redevelopment never got off the ground
On Thursday, Pfizer dealt a final blow to the project and the struggling seaport city by announcing that 1,400 jobs would leave the area as the pharmaceutical giant scales back amid tepid sales and a lack of new drugs in its pipeline. The move will vacate a 750,000 square foot complex built in 2001 and nothing is planned in its place.