Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, in case of B & H Corporation, a/k/a Herold Manufacturing Co., Herold Sales Company, Walter L. Herold v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Scranton, No. 270 September Term, 1967.
Paul H. Price, with him Oliver, Price and Rhodes, for appellants.
Albert B. Mackarey, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
The appellant, B & H Corporation, owned a parcel of land in the City of Scranton containing about 30,000 square feet on which were located six buildings used in the manufacturing of specialized mining equipment. B & H Corporation is owned by one Walter Herold and his wife. Mr. Herold designs and manufactures the equipment made at the B & H Corporation property.
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Scranton took from the appellant a strip of land 32.5 feet deep and 160 feet long to widen an abutting street and imposed at this place a 20 foot setback for buildings. These actions of the Authority took or made unuseable about 8400 square feet of appellant's property and necessitated the construction of a new wall for one of the buildings and the removal of some machinery. Mr. Herold not only restored the wall of the building or buildings affected and moved the machinery at this location, he purchased additional land, constructed new manufacturing areas, rehabilitated others and generally rearranged the machinery and equipment within the buildings. This work cost $184,000 and this amount the appellant contended should have been awarded to it as just compensation.
At the trial before a judge without a jury experts called by the Authority testified to reasonable machinery removal costs of $27,455 and to total damages, including removal expense and before and after condemnation values, of $68,000. The court awarded total damages of $77,500.
The appellant's contention on appeal here is still that it should have been awarded the $184,000 spent on the property.
The standard of just compensation in Pennsylvania, by long established case law and more recent legislation, is the difference between fair market value before and after taking, plus, in this case, the reasonable cost
of removing machinery and equipment. Fair market value is the price which would be agreed to by a willing and informed seller and buyer. Eminent Domain Code, Act of June 22, 1964, Spec. Sess. P.L. 84, §§ 602, 603, 26 P.S. §§ 1-602, 1-603. The appellant's sole authority for its contention that the usual rule should not have been applied here and that the award should have been in an amount equal to what Mr. Herold spent in rehabilitating the property, is Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company v. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 428 Pa. 74, 236 A.2d 112 (1967). In that case the property condemned was land held by a water company, a public utility, as a potential reservoir site. The land in question was naturally suited for a reservoir. Our Supreme Court held that evidence of replacement and repair costs should have been admitted. Justice Roberts wrote for the majority:
"For more than a century it has been consistently held by this Court that in condemnation cases the measure of damages is based upon fair market value. Rothman v. Commonwealth, 406 Pa. 376, 178 A.2d 605 (1962); Mazur v. Commonwealth, 390 Pa. 148, 134 A.2d 669 (1957); Dyer v. Commonwealth, 396 Pa. 524, 152 A.2d 760 (1959). Cf. Schuylkill Navigation Co. v. Thoburn, 7 S. & R. 411 (1821). More specifically, ...