Highwoods Fights 20% Hike In Tax Bill On One Alliance
The owners of one of Buckhead's trophy office towers are battling Fulton County after its most recent valuation was hiked by 20%.
Highwoods Properties filed an appeal in Fulton County Superior Court to protest a decision by the Fulton County Board of Equalization that determined the value of One Alliance Center is $150.8M as of last year. That means, as of now, Highwoods' total tax bill is determined on 40% of the value, or more than $60M. According to a Fulton tax assessor calculator, Highwoods' tax bill for 2015 (and this year if the valuation remains unchanged) is more than $2.7M. Highwoods officials declined to comment.
That's a whopping 20% jump in value for the more than 550k SF tower that's part of the Alliance Center office complex, says AGH's Wes Hudson. Highwoods purchased One Alliance Center for $143.4M in 2013, a year after it purchased sister property Two Alliance Center, both in Buckhead. “I think that's a huge real estate tax increase in one year,” says Wes (whose firm has nothing to do with the dispute), especially without any major lease that could justify a jump. “I think Highwoods has a valid argument for a decrease.”
And Highwoods isn't the only firm appealing to the county's Superior Court on valuation increases in recent weeks. Macy's is fighting a valuation jump on its North Point Mall location from $10.2M to $29.3M when the chain is closing stores nationwide (it's tax bill is based on $11.7M in assessed value); AMLI Residential is battling value jumps at AMLI at Milton Park (here) in Alpharetta (when assessed value went from $56.4M to $64.5M from 2014 to 2015); and Boston-based GID Development is debating a slight increase from nearly $35M in 2014 to $36.5M last year, according to appeals filed with Fulton Superior Court. Wes says it's not uncommon for big owners to appeal revaluations, but he notes that Fulton County has become “aggressive” in its efforts to make up from years during the Great Recession when it actually lowered values as many commercial properties struggled to stay afloat.