Tuesday, January 24, 2012


It's like the county is giving me programming homework. 

OK.  All 'new' assessment values for City of Pittsburgh commerical parcels are in a comma delimited file online here. Just two fields, Block and lot number (one field) and the 2012 assessment.  Scraped with this program if you are interested.

So the top 10 new commercial valuations in the city that I come up with are....

500 Grant St. $242 million
Rivers Casino $242 million
1 PPG Place $238 million
600 Grant St. (aka Steel Tower) $233 Million
301 Grant St. $167 million
1001 Liberty $149 million
500 Ross St. $102 million
210 6th St. $98 million
401 Liberty $93 million
625 Liberty $92 million

So yes, I am sure they will all appeal and some may be overassessed.  But it begs some questions on others.  Look at the Steel Building (or Steel Tower or 600 Grant St. or whatever its moniker is these days).  $233 million dollar assessment, but it is reported to have sold for $250 million last year all while it paid no real estate transfer tax on the deal.  In past years the City of School District might have appealed against the assessment, but I suspect the political climate precludes that happening this year.   This is speculation, but that steel building sale may be setting the market in the valuations.

Likewise the casino valuation will be appealed (again?), but realize that since it's base year assessment value set all sort of things have happened.  The law changed allowing them to engage in the much more profitable table games was enacted and in a sense that would impact what the property is worth.  For an establishment reportedly set up with $800 million in investment, you think it might be worth a third of that in the assessment valuation?

I have an idea..  they would need to change some laws for this to happen, but for anyone really balking at their assessment valuation then the fallback could be to use replacement cost.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

How much of the casino's capital investments actually went into real property? In other words, take out all the equipment, intangible property, and so forth, and how much did (or should) the building and land alone cost?

In any event, replacement costs are frequently much higher than market costs (just ask any property insurer).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Johnnie B said...

Here's another "homework" assignment that would be interesting:
What has been the trend in total valuations/and therefore tax receipts from commercial/industrial properties in the City ? I assume downtown comprises nearly 1/4 of all commercial property values. My other assumption is that over time, commercial properties make up a declining share of the assessed tax base. it would be interesting to see if the new reassessments readjusts and levels the playing field, and results in commercial/biz paying more of their fair share.....
John Burke
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

Friday, January 27, 2012 11:02:00 AM  

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