You've probably read about,or seen, Edith Masefield's house in Ballard. She was a holdout. and a full block commercial development had to build around her house (for which they offered her $1 million):
During the Denny Regrade ( when Seattle sluiced the entire steep Denny Hill down into Elliott Bay), some property owners refused to sell their land. The engineers carved around their lots, usually leaving houses stranded a hundred feet in the air atop "spite mounds." The owners all caved in eventually (it took years) and the regrade was completed.