Allen County officials are hopeful they will soon receive financial data requested from Glenbrook Square that is necessary to settle years of appeals related to the shopping malls property tax assessment.
The Allen County Assessors Office and Glenbrook Square have been at odds since 2002 when the Assessors Office began requesting detailed financial information regarding the malls tenants.
In 2002 – the first year for the states court-ordered reassessment of properties – counties had to base a propertys tax assessment on its market value. Under state law, properties are reassessed every five years.
Every year since, the malls parent company, General Growth Properties, has filed a tax appeal.
The 1.2 million-square-foot mall – consistently named one of the countys top taxpaying properties – was sold to General Growth Properties in 2003 for about $220 million.
According to assessors at the time, the mall was worth about $64 million.
Commercial properties can be assessed based on the amount of income they generate. To determine the value of income-producing properties, the assessors office must have information relating to the rental incomes derived from mall tenants, said Mark GiaQuinta, attorney for the assessor.
Although the assessors office recently filed a court order to obtain those documents by July 18, they plan to give Glenbrook an additional 10 business days to comply, GiaQuinta said, adding he is confident the information will be provided Monday.
When we get the information, we can either settle the case or litigate, GiaQuinta said. Our job is to come up with a fair assessment, he said.
In 2008, Allen County cleared a major hurdle in the legal fight over Glenbrooks property assessment when an administrative law judge denied a request to rule in favor of the malls owners without a trial. No trial date has been set.
At stake is a tax refund of $10 million to $15 million, including interest that local taxing units would have to pay to Glenbrook if the county lost the case, which stems from Glenbrooks 2002 reassessment.
Since Glenbrooks tenants pay the taxes through a special lease that includes not only rent and utilities but all real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance, it is unclear where exactly the refund – if it transpires – would go or whether past and present tenants would receive a share of that refund.
Glenbrooks attorney, John Burns, declined to comment.
Glenbrook Squares parent company, General Growth Properties filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 and included the shopping mall in its bid to reduce and restructure debt.
About 15 million shoppers visit Glenbrook each year. The enclosed, two-story shopping center includes about 150 tenants, a food court and a two-story carousel.