The New Jersey Department of Transportation (plaintiff) filed a complaint to use its eminent domain authority to take 1.65 acres of the 2.86 acres owned by 200 Route 17, LLC (defendant). A building and a parking lot were on the portion of the property taken. 200 Route 17 was left with 1.21 acres of vacant land. The lot was zoned for industrial use, but the parties agreed that the highest and best use of the vacant lot was for commercial retail, which would have required significant improvements to the property, including certain regulatory approvals. At trial, both parties presented expert testimony on the fair market value of the property. The trial court entered an order basing fair market value on an assumption that the property was already improved and ready for retail use, simply deducting the hypothetical costs of the improvements. The Department of Transportation appealed.