An Orange County Superior Court jury this week ordered the city's Redevelopment Agency to pay a Santa Ana man $430,000 to buy his property for construction of a ballet school.
Attorneys for Zivorad Nikolic said the city initiated legal proceedings in June to acquire the property at 1812-1818 1/2 and 1828 N. Main St. Nikolic didn't challenge the city's move to take the property, but he argued in a lawsuit that the city had "grossly undervalued those properties."
Nikolic's attorney, K. Eric Friess, said the city initially offered $325,000 for the lots between the Bowers Museum and the Bowers Kidseum, which house an Immigration Service Center, a meat market, a vacant lot, two businesses and two residences.
City officials said they want to use the lot for an effort to build a home for St. Joseph Ballet Company, including a stage, studios and a community room.
The nonprofit school runs on about $600,000 annually with funds coming from grants and private donations.