Contracts II, Pages 1184–1188

Ammerman v. City Stores Co.

United States Court of Appeals, 1968


Defendants built a shopping center but were having trouble getting it zoned. They asked plaintiff to write a letter in support. Despite not wanting to upset defendants' competitor, plaintiff did so, saying that it would be interested in being a major tenant if the zoning were approved. Defendants replied that plaintiff would have the opportunity to become one. Defendants denied giving plaintiff a binding option however.

Procedural History:

District court decided that defendants had given plaintiff a binding option to lease a major building and that it was sufficiently definite to be specifically enforced.


Was specific performance appropriate for the lease of a yet-to-be-constructed building?



Specific performance will not be barred just because the contract had some terms that were not definite. Economic damages could not have raised plaintiff's image and economic position in the area. This was more than mere construction. It also involved a lease which could not be done by another party.


Yes, specific performance was appropriate. Affirmed.