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Justices side with Columbus schools in tax fight over New Albany-area apartments - News - The Columbus Dispatch

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the doubling of the market value of a New Albany-area apartment complex to $34.5 million in a property-tax challenge brought by Columbus City Schools.

The Thursday ruling upheld the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals‘ valuation of Palmer House apartments after it overturned the Franklin County Board of Revision decision to value the 264-unit complex at $16 million in 2015.

The school district contended the property built in 2013 was worth far more than the fair market value set by the Franklin County auditor when the apartments sold in 2015 for $35 million.

The district appraised the complex as worth $36.6 million, while the owner countered the value was $25 million.

Columbus City Schools successfully argued that the seller and buyer of Palmer House had structured the property transfer not as a conveyance of real estate, but as a sale of the company that owned the real estate to in a bid to effectively reduce the value.

Justice Michael Donnelly wrote in the 6-0 majority opinion that the Board of Tax Appeals was correct in finding the sale of the company largely was a sale of real estate and that the transfer of ownership “constituted a contrivance for the sale of commercial real estate.”

Auditor records show that the apartment complex owned by Palmer House Borrower LLC currently carries a market value of $24.5 million and pays $706,000 a year in property taxes, of which $493,000 goes to Columbus schools.

The ruling did not state how much in property taxes the school system will gain with the increase of value of the apartment complex.



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