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Marion Cnty. Assessor v. Gateway Arthur, Inc.

Tax Court of Indiana

September 30, 2015

MARION COUNTY ASSESSOR, Petitioner,
v.
GATEWAY ARTHUR, INC., Respondent

ON APPEAL FROM A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE INDIANA BOARD OF TAX REVIEW.

ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONER: JOHN C. SLATTEN, MARION COUNTY ASSESSOR'S OFFICE, Indianapolis, IN.

ATTORNEYS FOR RESPONDENT: PAUL M. JONES, JR., MATTHEW J. EHINGER, ICE MILLER LLP, Indianapolis, IN.

OPINION

FISHER, Senior Judge.

This case examines whether the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred in reducing Gateway Arthur, Inc.'s real property assessments for the 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 tax years (the years at issue). The Court finds that the Indiana Board did not err.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

During the years at issue, Gateway Arthur owned a portion of the Indianapolis retail shopping center known as The Shoppes at County Line Road. Specifically, Gateway Arthur owned six parcels that contained: 1) three buildings with about 270,000 square feet of leasable space; 2) a retention pond; 3) two access roads; and 4) a pylon sign (hereinafter, " the subject property" ). The Marion County Assessor assigned the subject property a total assessed value of $17,426,500 for 2007, $18,112,000 for 2008, $18,112,000 for 2009, and $17,003,100 for 2010.

Gateway Arthur appealed the assessments, first to the Marion County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, and then to the Indiana Board. On May 10, 2012, the Indiana Board held a hearing during which Gateway Arthur submitted an Appraisal, prepared by two Indiana certified general appraisers, Richard Correll and Michael Schlemmer, that valued the subject property under the income approach[1] at $12,800,000 for 2007, $13,800,000 for 2008, $12,900,000 for 2009, and $10,300,000 for 2010.[2] (See Cert. Admin. R. at 643-716.)

In response, the Assessor claimed that the Appraisal should be disregarded because it used a loaded capitalization rate, it failed to account for the actual value of the retention pond, pylon sign, and access roads, and it underestimated the value of the subject property by about $1 million by failing to account for approximately $120,000 in annual property tax reimbursements. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 1696-1700, 1705-11, 1720-21, 1737-38.) (Compare also Cert. Admin. R. at 705 with 934.) To further support his assessments, the Assessor submitted an Income Analysis that valued solely the subject property's three buildings at $20,771,300 for 2007, $22,245,900 for 2008, $18,786,400 for 2009, and $18,975,300 for 2010. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 946, 1697-99, 1721-22.) Finally, the Assessor presented documentation indicating that Gateway Arthur purchased the subject property in 2007 for $21,000,000. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 1443-45.) The Assessor claimed that his Income Analysis, along with the subject property's 2007 purchase price, supported his assessments because their square foot valuations were within a fairly " decent range[.]" (See Cert. Admin. R. at 1725-28.)

On October 22, 2012, the Indiana Board issued a final determination in which it explained that despite the fact the Appraisal undervalued the subject property by failing to account for certain property tax reimbursements, it was still probative of the subject property's value. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 546-47 ¶ ¶ 55-58.) The Indiana Board further explained that the Assessor's evidence lacked probative value and, therefore, he did not rebut the Appraisal's valuations. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 547-50 ¶ ¶ 59, 61-63, 65-67.) As a result, the Indiana Board determined that the subject property's value was no more than the Appraisal's stated valuations, " augmented" by $1 million to account for the property tax reimbursements, and ultimately valued the subject property at $13,800,000 for 2007, $14,800,000 for 2008, $13,900,000 for 2009, and $11,300,000 for 2010. (See Cert. Admin. R. at 550-52 ¶ ¶ 69-71.)

On December 6, 2012, the Assessor initiated this original tax appeal. The Court heard oral argument on November 22, 2013. Additional facts will be supplied as necessary.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The party seeking to overturn an Indiana Board final determination bears the burden of demonstrating its invalidity. Hubler Realty Co. v. Hendricks Cnty. Assessor,938 N.E.2d 311, 313 (Ind.Tax Ct. 2010). The Court will reverse a final determination if it is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law; contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, or immunity; in excess of or short of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations; without observance ...


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