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Developers of the Marriott Renaissance hotel said they would pay Gran Havana cigar shop owner Ahmad Mesdaq the nearly $7.8 million a court awarded him in November 2005 for the land taken from him by eminent domain, said Mesdaq’s lawyer Vincent Bartolotta.

The city used the power in 2004, originally offering Mesdaq $3 million for the Gaslamp site. The shop was razed and has been a parking lot since.

Cindy Eldred, a land-use lawyer representing developers GRH, LLC., said last month the legal battle with Mesdaq pushed the hotel behind schedule, to a projected opening in 2010. She said today the settlement was offered in attempts to move the project forward.

“We need to move the project as quickly as we can,” she said. “This will give us a certainty we otherwise don’t have.”

The Centre City Development Corp. was scheduled to vote on giving the developers an extension at yesterday’s meeting, but the item was taken off the calendar due to the settlement, said CCDC’s David Allsbrook.

Bartolotta said while his client would have preferred to have kept his property, he is pleased to be compensated for it. “This isn’t a happy situation, but it’s a practical solution to protect his family.”

The settlement is pending city approval.


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