Field and Goldberg, LLC is a boutique real estate law firm practicing exclusively in the areas of real estate taxation, real estate transactions, and real estate litigation.
Recently Turned Over New Construction Condominium
ISSUE: A 200 plus unit Condominium Association was recently turned over by the Developer to the Condominium Association. The Developer failed to appeal the prior year’s real estate tax assessments. As a result the unit owners were facing massive tax bills which did not reflect the fact that units were vacant for most of the year and that all units were overvalued.
ACTION: Field and Goldberg’s attorneys filed on behalf of the Condominium Association appropriate documentation requesting the Assessor to review the previous year’s tax assessment arguing, among other things, that the units were over assessed. Among the documentation submitted was a vacancy analysis of each unit indicating the time periods when each unit was vacant and unsold and a comprehensive spread sheet analyzing each sale and making adjustments for personal property and for statistical anomalies. Utilizing the sales data, we presented to the Assessor an aggregate market value for the building which justified a reduced assessment. The Assessor’s office initially rejected the appeal. However, after numerous attempts and significant efforts Field and Goldberg finally convinced the Assessor’s office that a reduction to the assessment was justified.
RESOLUTION: The previous year’s tax assessment was reduced. The Condominium Association saved approximately $254,000. Each unit owner received relief due to both occupancy and valuation. The client was thrilled with our result. The Developer later became a client of our firm after seeing how our diligent efforts on behalf of the Condominium Association paid off.
ISSUE: A Chicago Gold Coast Condominium Association was receiving a large tax bill on a parking garage that the Condominium Association owned for many years and used for resident parking.
ACTION: Field and Goldberg’s Attorneys filed a complaint with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. After the Assessor denied the complaint Field and Goldberg filed with the Cook County Board of Review arguing that the garage was essentially a common element used for residential purposes and should be assessed at $1. Field and Goldberg attorneys’ argued that the Assessor was already accounting for the parking garage’s value in the overall market value of the building and thus was double taxing the property.
RESOLUTION: The Cook County Board of Review granted a $1 assessment based upon Illinois statutes because the parking garage was property owned by the Condominium Association and was used exclusively for residential purposes. As a result of this reduction the Condominium Association is saving approximately $75,000 annually and thus far over $225,000 and counting.
ISSUE: A large, newly converted, Condominium Association received an excessive assessment which failed to reflect the vacancy of many units during reconstruction and also reflected an excessive market value.
ACTION: Field and Goldberg’s attorneys filed a complaint at the Board of Review and orally argued the case before the board. The argument focused on the fact that many units were vacant and unsold for a substantial portion of the year and thus should not be fully assessed and that the property’s aggregate full market value was extremely excessive. Field and Goldberg’s attorneys analyzed each sale at the property and made adjustments for personal property and for statistical anomalies and then developed a comprehensive model to determine an aggregate market value for the entire building.
RESOLUTION: Due to Field and Goldberg’s efforts, the Board of Review provided vacancy relief and substantial market value relief. The result of Field and Goldberg’s efforts was a total tax savings of $400,000 for the tax year.
ISSUE: A client recently purchased an industrial building. Shortly after the property was purchased, the Assessor increased the property’s assessed value by 92%. Although the Assessor’s increase would still value the property less than the recent purchase price, if the Assessor’s increase held, the owner may have been unable to meet all of the owner’s financial obligations.
ACTION: Field and Goldberg obtained operating statements and rent rolls for prior years from the prior owner and obtained a recent appraisal for real estate tax purposes valuing the property substantially less than the recent purchase price. Field and Goldberg then filed a brief with the Assessor’s office whereby Field and Goldberg requested substantial relief due to economics and appraisal value. Field and Goldberg’s attorneys submitted a detailed income/expense analysis that indicated that the market value for ad valorem tax purposes was much less than the recent purchase price.
RESOLUTION: Field and Goldberg’s argument was accepted and the Assessor significantly reduced the property’s assessed value. As a result of Field and Goldberg’s efforts the client saved over $270,000. The client now routinely contacts Field and Goldberg’s attorneys prior to acquisition in order to obtain a comprehensive tax analysis which assists in structuring the transaction so that any personal property, goodwill or intangible business value, is removed from the purchase price and only real property is included. In Illinois, where this property was located, only real property can be assessed.
ISSUE: A hotel owner recently purchased a large downtown Chicago hotel for approximately $90,000,000. The client was concerned that the Assessor would tax the property based upon the $90,000,000 purchase price.
ACTION: This property was a “Letter Property” whereby the Assessor required that all purchase information and appraisals of the property as well as recent income and expense data be submitted to the Assessor before the Assessor would issue an assessment. Field and Goldberg’s attorneys provided the data along with a brief explaining that the purchase price reflected a substantial amount of business value that was not assessable for real estate tax purposes. Further, Field and Goldberg recalculated the hotel’s income and expense statements to extract a significant amount of business value from the income generated by the property. Field and Goldberg’s arguments centered on the fact that only income related to the real estate can be considered. Any income related to banquet halls, restaurants or the general business of the hotel should not be considered. Field and Goldberg also provided for adjustments due to a return on and of personal property.
RESOLUTION: As a result of the arguments presented by Field and Goldberg, the Assessor set a market value for the property of $36,925,000, less than half of the purchase price. Due to our efforts, we saved the client hundreds of thousands of dollars.
ISSUE: A commercial office building owner of a large Chicago Loop building was concerned about his property’s assessed value due to the reassessment of downtown properties despite falling revenue and increased vacancy.
ACTION: Due to the fact that the property was a “Letter Property”, Field and Goldberg’s attorneys submitted evidence of the property’s market value prior to the Assessor setting the assessed value. After the Assessor set the initial market value, Field and Goldberg’s attorneys requested that the Assessor’s office re-review the documentation submitted and arguments made by our firm and reduce the assessment. Although we obtained a good result from the Assessor’s office which most firms would be pleased with, we were not satisfied and filed a complaint with the Board of Review seeking a further reduction based upon economic market value and analysis.
RESOLUTION: Due to Field and Goldberg’s efforts, the Assessor decreased the property’s assessed value to a value below the prior year’s assessed value. The Board of Review further reduced the property’s assessed value by an additional $380,000 which resulted in an additional tax savings of approximately $58,000 per year or a total additional tax savings of approximately $255,000. The property owner was thrilled with the result and now routinely uses Field and Goldberg for all of their properties because they know that Field and Goldberg’s attorneys will creatively pursue a case to all levels of appeal in order to achieve the desired result.
Apartment Building Incentive
ISSUE: A family owned apartment building was in need of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, the owner could not financially afford to make the improvements.
ACTION: Field and Goldberg determined that a Class 9 incentive developed by the Cook County Assessor to assist apartment building owners to keep apartment buildings from converting to condominiums would be warranted. As such, Field and Goldberg helped the client navigate the Cook County Assessor’s incentive process. Field and Goldberg reviewed all incentive applications, provided general advice to the client regarding Class 9 and directly interfaced with the County’s incentive officer. Field and Goldberg then filed a tax appeal at the Assessor’s Office and Board of Review contesting the market value of the Property was excessive even after Class 9 was granted based upon a detailed analysis of the property’s current and prior year’s income and expenses.
RESOLUTION: Due to Field and Goldberg’s efforts the property received Class 9 status thereby reducing the property’s level of assessment from 24% to 16% of market value. Further, due to the arguments presented to both the Assessor and Board of Review, the Assessor initially reduced the assessment and the Board of Review further reduced it. The client will save approximately $32,000 per year freeing up sufficient funds to rehabilitate the property.