Appeals from decree of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Sept. T., 1969, No. 6300, in case of King Athletic Goods Company and Pro Sporting Goods Company v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia.
James D. Crawford, with him Richard D. Malmed and Randall E. Ellington, for appellant at No. 81 and appellee at No. 92.
Joseph R. Livesey, with him Kates, Livesey & Edelstein, for appellants at No. 92 and appellees at No. 81.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Eagen. Mr. Justice Manderino dissents. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.
On August 2, 1968, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia [The Authority] filed a declaration of taking in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, for the area described as Callowhill East Urban Redevelopment Area. Included in this condemnation was a property located at 434-436 North Third Street, Philadelphia, which King Athletic Goods Company and Pro Sporting Goods Company both occupied and used in the manufacture and sale of athletic goods and equipment. [For convenience these businesses will be referred to herein as one, and the two companies will be referred to as King]. However, in its business King also occupied and used a property at 412-416 North Third Street, Philadelphia, which premises were not included in the condemnation. King filed preliminary objections to the declaration of taking alleging it was void because, inter alia, it excluded the premises at 412-416 North Third Street which was a necessary part of its business operation.*fn1
To resolve the dispute, King and The Authority entered into a written agreement on December 2, 1968, "Terminating Litigation and Making Provisions for Sundry Actions." The essence of this agreement was
that the property at 434-436 North Third Street and that at 412-416 North Third Street were to be treated as if both "had been condemned by the Authority." The agreement also provided that the "moving expenses"*fn2 [moving of King's personal property to a new location] and the expenses of disconnection, removal and reinstallation of King's machinery, equipment and fixtures*fn3 were to be processed the same as if both were "regular and ordinary moving costs."*fn4
Subsequently, King obtained a relocation site at 2615 Hunting Park Avenue in Philadelphia. On April 22, 1969, after extensive correspondence between the attorney representing King and The Authority, King submitted to The Authority three bids for the moving of its "personal property" to the new location. The lowest bid was submitted by Louderback-North American, Inc. [Louderback]. On May 12th, King's attorney wrote The Authority asking its approval for King to move to the new location without first obtaining the required bids for moving its equipment, machinery and fixtures. The letter stated that King was in the process of obtaining these bids "from general contractors" and the bids should be received "within the next few days";
that it "was necessary to immediately vacate the premises 416 North Third Street"; that King was willing to pay Louderback directly and after this payment and "approval of the general contracting work, they would look for reimbursement from The Authority for that which they paid to Louderback." On May 15th, The Authority wrote directly to Louderback saying it "had received its estimate" and Louderback was authorized "to perform the moving." Louderback commenced the moving on May 24, 1969, which continued until June 4th, when it was terminated by King. As of June 4th, a substantial part of the moving had been accomplished, but part of King's inventory, machinery, equipment and fixtures still remained at the old location.
On June 23, 1969, King finally submitted three bids to The Authority for the moving of its machinery, equipment and fixtures. However, The Authority found certain problems with the bids and notified King of these general questions, but not of the specifics. On June 27th, King's attorney wrote to The Authority and demanded a resolution of the controversy, and suggested that if one was not immediately forthcoming, King would be forced to finance the relocation costs and seek reimbursement from The Authority. In a letter dated July 3rd, King's attorney notified The Authority that any further delay was intolerable, and he was instructing his clients to contract on its own for the moving and reinstallation of its machinery, equipment and fixtures. Despite this notification, ...