Owners of the former Church Street South apartment complex won a 20 percent tax cut after a judge agreed that the city assessor had overvalued the crumbling property.
On July 2, the Superior Court judge, Jon C. Blue, ordered the city to reduce its 2016 and 2017 valuations of the half-dozen properties that comprise the former 30-building, 301-unit federally subsidized apartment complex across from Union Station.
The complex’s owners, Northland Investment Corp., filed a tax appeal lawsuit against the city through its holding company Church Street New Haven LLC on June 21, 2017.
As a result of the lawsuit, Northland will receive $83,237 back from the city in “overpaid” taxes for 2016 and 2017. Northland will also pay 20 percent less in taxes this year than it would have paid based on the properties’ 2016 valuations.
Their taxes could further drop going forward after Northland finishes demolishing the vacant property and before it builds a new, prospective 900 to 1,000-unit mixed-income, mixed-use complex on the site. The city and Northland areseeking funding to begin that project.
Lawyer Michael D. Reiner, representing Northland on behalf of the Farmington, Conn. firm Greene Law, P.C., argued in the initial complaint filed with the New Haven Superior Court that the city has overvalued each of the complex’s six properties during the citywide revaluation in 2016.
Reiner described the city’s assessments of each property as “not that percentage of its true and actual value on the Assessment Date but ... grossly excessive, disproportionate and unlawful.”
The city assesses each taxable property in New Haven at 70 percent of its full market value. So, for example, if the city assessor determined a property’s full market value to be $100,000, then that property would be taxed at the assessed value of $70,000.
The tax rate, in turn, corresponds to the mill rate set by the alders and the mayor in each fiscal year’s budget. One mill corresponds to one dollar in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value.
In 2016, the city’s assessor issuing the following full market valuations to the six properties that comprise the former Church Street South apartment complex:
1 Tower Lane = $596,200
86 South Orange St. = $3,118,500
91 Columbus Ave. = $1,198,500
94 Columbus Ave. = $2,148,000
89 Union Ave. = $1,292,000
169 Union Ave. = $1,386,400
The city and Northland cut a deal on revaluations for each of the properties before the case could make it to trial.
Per a June 18, 2018 motion for judgment signed by both Northland and the city, which Judge Blue agreed to in a final order on July 2, Northland received a 10.27 percent cut on each property’s valuation for Oct. 1, 2016. Northland then received another 11.44 percent cut on top of the new 2016 valuations for each property’s valuation for Oct. 1, 2017.
The new and current full-market valuations for each of the properties, as of Oct. 2017, are:
1 Tower Lane = $473,772
86 South Orange St. = $2,478,125
91 Columbus Ave. = $952,391
94 Columbus Ave. = $1,706,914
89 Union Ave. = $1,026,691
169 Union Ave. = $1,101,707
Click here to read the full judgment.
Thanks to the order, the properties’ cumulative values, and corresponding taxes, are 20.53 percent less than they were after the original 2016 assessment by the city.
“Any overpayment by the Plaintiff shall be a credit in the next tax payment,” reads the judgment.
That means that, in addition to paying 20 percent less going forward than what it was paying in 2016, Northland will get back from the city a total of $83,237 that it already paid for these properties in 2016 and 2017.
The judgment also notes that the valuations of Northland’s relevant properties may further decrease in the coming years, as the company has just recently begun to demolish Church Street South’s former residences.
“The parties acknowledge that it is the intention of the Plaintiff to demolish the structures on the Property,” the judgment reads. “At such time as the structures on the Property are demolished, removed and graded … the value of the Property will be adjusted by the assessor…”
Previous coverage of Church Street South:
• The Tear-Down Begins
• Finally Empty, Church Street South Ready To Disappear
• Northland’s Insurer Sues To Stop Paying
•Who Broke Church Street South?
•Amid Destruction, Last Tenant Holds On
• Survey: 48% Of Complex’s Kids Had Asthma
• Families Relocated After Ceiling Collapses
• Housing Disaster Spawns 4 Lawsuits
• 20 Last Families Urged To Move Out
• Church St. South Refugees Fight Back
• Church St. South Transfers 82 Section 8 Units
• Tenants Seek A Ticket Back Home
• City Teams With Northland To Rebuild
• Church Street South Tenants’ Tickets Have Arrived
• Church Street South Demolition Begins
• This Time, Harp Gets HUD Face Time
• Nightmare In 74B
• Surprise! Now HUD Flunks Church St. South
• Church St. South Tenants Get A Choice
• Home-For-Xmas? Not Happening
• Now It’s Christmas, Not Thanksgiving
• Pols Enlist In Church Street South Fight
• Raze? Preserve? Or Renew?
• Church Street South Has A Suitor
• Northland Faces Class-Action Lawsuit On Church Street South
• First Attempt To Help Tenants Shuts Down
• Few Details For Left-Behind Tenants
• HUD: Help’s Here. Details To Follow
• Mixed Signals For Church Street South Families
• Church St. South Families Displaced A 2nd Time — For Yale Family Weekend
• Church Street South Getting Cleared Out
• 200 Apartments Identified For Church Street South Families
• Northland Asks Housing Authority For Help
• Welcome Home
• Shoddy Repairs Raise Alarm — & Northland Offer
• Northland Gets Default Order — & A New Offer
• HUD, Pike Step In
• Northland Ordered To Fix Another 17 Roofs
• Church Street South Evacuees Crammed In Hotel
• Church Street South Endgame: Raze, Rebuild
• Harp Blasts Northland, HUD
• Flooding Plagues Once-Condemned Apartment
• Church Street South Hit With 30 New Orders
• Complaints Mount Against Church Street South
• City Cracks Down On Church Street South, Again
• Complex Flunks Fed Inspection, Rakes In Fed $$
• Welcome Home — To Frozen Pipes
• City Spotted Deadly Dangers; Feds Gave OK
• No One Called 911 | “Hero” Didn’t Hesitate
• “New” Church Street South Goes Nowhere Fast
• Church Street South Tenants Organize