Convenience Stores and Gas Station Property in Eminent Domain

Convenience stores and gas station property in eminent domain often have special factors that can affect the value of the property being taken – factors the government might not consider. Is your land worth much more than the DOT is offering?

Convenience Store and Gas Station Property Appraisal in Eminent Domain: What You Need to Know

Convenience stores and gas stations play a crucial role in helping support local economies by fueling the flow of people, goods, and services in their communities. We are proud to help these business owners in North Carolina fight for full compensation when the DOT takes all or part of their property.

As a convenience store and gas station owner, you may have sophisticated and environmentally hazardous equipment on your property, such as buried fuel tanks and complex electrical systems. You might have had to obtain special permits and satisfy zoning requirements that other businesses don’t. This makes the physical location of the business even more important for convenience stores and gas stations than for many other brick-and-mortar businesses.

The unique features of gas stations, such as underground tanks, may make the compensation you are owed higher than the govt appraiser thinks.Getting a fair value appraisal can be difficult for the owners of convenience stores and gas station property in eminent domain. That’s because government appraisers in North Carolina might not always fully consider all the unique elements and benefits that can make your property worth significantly more. So how do you fight for “fair market value?”

The first thing to know is that you don’t have to accept the government’s initial offer. In fact, you probably shouldn’t because you’re most likely entitled to far more. We know this because we’ve helped our clients get on average nearly 3x more than their initial offers since our firm began.1

Before you agree to anything, even savvy business owners and negotiators should consult with an experienced eminent domain attorney to see how much your convenience store or gas station may really be worth.

We have the experience and resources to help you fight for maximum compensation by:

  • Identifying and investigating the impact of the taking to traffic flow and parking on your property
  • Hiring qualified land experts who can help put a value on the specific impact to your specific property
  • Investigating and explaining the full impact of permanent easements the DOT may want, particularly those which may be lightly used initially, but carry a potentially heavy future burden.

Contact us online or at 1-877-393-4990 today if you’ve received notice that your convenience store or gas station is being impacted by an eminent domain taking.

Issues you may be facing to get fair valuation for your property

Though it may seem hard to believe, the government (federal, state, and local) has the power to take private property away from its owners (including businesses) for public use projects such as roads and infrastructure. This power is wielded frequently by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

However, according to the law, the government can’t take your property without giving you “just compensation.” Their initial offer will be based on their appraisal of your property’s fair value. This leads many property owners to feel like they’re getting a fair deal, and the government might even tell you that their offer is take it or leave it. But the government generally wants to acquire your property for as little compensation as possible.

You can and almost always should push back against the government’s initial offer for your convenience store and gas station property in eminent domain negotiations.

And, because of the complexity of the equipment, zoning, physical location, and other special considerations inherent to many gas stations and convenience stores, there’s a very good chance that the government won’t (or might not even be able to) valuate your property properly.

Some of the issues you may face with your gas station and convenience store property include:


It is nearly impossible to fight the taking when the NCDOT condemns your property in eminent domain. However, the government has to offer you fair compensation for what they’re taking – though what constitutes “fair value” to them might not be what your land is really worth, especially with complex properties such as gas stations and convenience stores.

Inverse condemnation

In cases of inverse condemnation, the government takes or damages your property without offering you compensation in return. An example might be if the government takes your neighbors’ land around your gas station and uses it for construction projects that make it impossible for customers to reach your gas pumps. Because of the dramatic reduction in your gas station property’s value, you may have an inverse condemnation claim, and you may be owed significant compensation.


An easement is when the government takes the right to use a portion of your land for a public use project such as drainage infrastructure, power lines, gas lines, etc. This can get very tricky, for example, when the DOT wants an easement on the portion of your land that includes some of the gas station’s underground storage tanks and associated systems.

An experienced eminent domain attorney can try to ensure you’re compensated for the full value of the land and not just what’s above-ground and visible to the naked eye.


The government is obligated to give you just compensation for what it is taking, but just compensation is negotiable. The government’s appraisal often determines the value of people’s properties incorrectly. This is particularly true when it comes to the complicated nature of valuing land for convenience store and gas station property in eminent domain.

Note: Getting your own appraisal too soon can undermine your case instead of helping it. We work with a statewide network of land experts, including land planners, civil engineers, real-estate brokers, surveyors, and more to help provide an independent appraiser the evidence needed to determine the fair value for your property based on its highest and best use and the full impact of the project.


If you’re forced to relocate your gas station or convenience store due to an eminent domain taking, North Carolina law says you’re generally entitled to business relocation expenses such as costs for:

  • Dismantling, packing, moving, and unpacking business assets such as gas tanks and pumps at your new site
  • Obtaining business permits at the destination site (an important factor when special permitting is required for your gas station or convenience store)
  • Payments to cover any increased mortgage at the new site

Of course, relocating a gas station or convenience store is never as simple as picking a new site and moving operations. Location is such a crucial element for gas stations and convenience stores that you could easily be out of business after being forced to move for eminent domain.

Negotiating the government’s initial offer is likely your one and only opportunity to pursue full compensation for everything the taking may be costing you.

Four of our attorneys used to work for the NCDOT on some of their biggest cases, but they felt too many property owners struggled to go it alone and left compensation they deserved on the negotiating table. Now, they fight for maximum compensation on behalf of business owners like you.

Eminent domain process: Convenience stores and gas stations

To help you understand the process for convenience store and gas station property takings in North Carolina, here is a short video from the lead attorney of our firm, Stan Abrams:

Frequently asked questions about convenience store and gas station takings

Here are some frequently asked questions we receive from the owners of convenience stores and gas station property in eminent domain:

Can private companies use eminent domain?

Government agencies can take private land to be developed for private companies, but only if doing so is to support a public use project. For example, a city might take blighted land in extreme circumstances and give it to a private developer to turn into a shopping center to stimulate the local economy and drive tax revenues.

Can you fight eminent domain?

Technically yes, but we don’t recommend it. You’re very unlikely to prevail in fighting the taking of your land by eminent domain, so we typically advise clients to instead fight for the full amount of compensation possible.

Does eminent domain pay loss of income?

In the state of North Carolina, eminent domain compensation to business owners does not typically include loss of income or business profits, only the loss of the “full and best use” of the land itself.

Are eminent domain proceeds taxable?

It’s possible that you may have to pay taxes on your eminent domain compensation if you realized a gain in the property’s value as a result. For example, if you paid $50,000 for a property 20 years ago, and the government compensates you with $500,000 for it today, you may have to pay taxes on the $450,000 difference. Consult a tax professional.

Is any property exempt from eminent domain?

Not typically, though there have been properties that were exempted from eminent domain due to their historical or public significance or other factors. However, it’s highly unlikely that your gas station or convenience store would be exempt from eminent domain, and you’re almost certainly better off focusing your energy on trying to get the most compensation possible for your property.

Experienced representation makes a huge difference

Why choose the NC Eminent Domain Law Firm? Because our experience successfully increasing eminent domain compensation for our clients1 along with our other-side experience working for the Department of Transportation is a strong combination.

And there’s no need to worry about cost with our risk-free guarantee:

No fee guarantee, meaning that legal fees will come out of the additional negotiated portion of total compensation received.

If you’ve received notice that your commercial land will be taken for eminent domain, or you believe it might, we can help you.

The sooner you reach out, the more ways we may be able to help you.

Contact us today online or by calling 1-877-393-4990 for a free professional evaluation of your convenience store and gas station property eminent domain case.

Get a free case
evaluation today.

There are only a handful of attorneys in NC who practice eminent domain exclusively, and even fewer with NCDOT experience. We have several. That’s why its worth getting in touch with us for a free case evaluation.

Here’s how it works:

1) Tell us about your situation.

2) We research your property as needed, using DOT maps, our own technology, and experience to see the exact effects.

3) We let you know what we think a fair offer would be. This evaluation is free, and there’s no
pressure or obligation to hire us after.

But please don’t wait to act. Waiting can hurt your case, and the cost is the same: free.

"*" indicates required fields

* Indicates required information

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.