Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County in case of In Re: Condemnation by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg of Certain Parcels of Real Estate in the Third Ward of said City in Connection with the Harristown Project, Project R-597. Young Women's Christian Association v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg, No. 818 January Term, 1976.
David A. Wion, with him Reynolds, Bihl and Schaffner, for appellant.
Henry E. Harner, with him George W. McKee, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 296]
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg (Authority) has appealed a judgment on a jury's verdict in an eminent domain case entered against it in the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County. We affirm.
The Authority condemned the property of the Greater Harrisburg Area Young Women's Christian Association by filing a Declaration of Taking pursuant to the Eminent Domain Code (Code), Act of June 22, 1964, Special Sess., P.L. 84, as amended, 26 P.S.
[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 297]
§ 1-101 et seq. A board of viewers was appointed and filed a report assessing damages at $992,000. The YWCA appealed this decision to the Court of Common Pleas where, after a jury trial, verdict against the Authority in the amount of $1,320,000 was rendered and judgment thereon entered.
The Authority contends that the trial judge erroneously admitted allegedly hearsay testimony of an officer of the appellee-YWCA concerning the construction cost of five YWCAs built in other parts of the county; and further that he improperly admitted the evidence of YWCA valuation experts, one purporting to value machinery and equipment only and the other real estate only, each of which appraisals in fact included items also in the other.
Section 704 of the Code, 26 P.S. § 1-704, provides that a "condemnee or an officer of a corporate condemnee, without further qualification, may testify as to just compensation. . . ." Section 705, 26 P.S. § 1-705, permits a qualified valuation expert, "on direct or cross-examination, [to] state any or all facts and data which he considered in arriving at his opinion, whether or not he has personal knowledge thereof. . . ." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that the term qualified valuation expert as used in Section 705 includes the condemnee:
It may be argued that a distinction should be made between the owner and an expert because the latter is more likely to possess the knowledge necessary for testimony in such matters as 'reproduction costs' Our courts, however, have left any such distinction in qualifications up to the jury.
Hoffman v. Commonwealth, 422 Pa. 144, 151, 221 A.2d 315, 319 (1966). The Authority correctly observes, however, that neither an expert witness nor a condemnee ...