wtf? #4 Board of Revision (PNC Center, 5th St.)

wtf? is a series of posts dedicated to holding a spotlight on the mysterious and un-explainable decisions of the Hamilton County Board of Revision.  But in all honesty – the most puzzling questions on the PNC Center are not the Board of Revision Decisions – but public financing and reappraisal weirdness.

pnc center

First thing you need to understand about this office building is that the notes show that it was granted an Urban Renewal Debt Retirement Abatement which began in 1980 and continues for as long as there are outstanding bonds.  Owners pay property taxes only on the value of the land.  It’s been exempt from the bulk of property taxes for 34 years now and still counting.

The last sale occurred in 2005 for $60,855,800.  Now here’s the interesting twist on our Board of Revision mysteries: in this case, the new owner complains in 2006 that the $57,000,000 auditor’s value is too low, and gets it raised to the price they actually paid in the open market the year before.  But during the regularly scheduled reappraisal of all properties in Hamilton County in 2011, the value plummets 31% (as compared to the 3.7% average decline in commercial property values) and it is now valued at $42,000,000.

But here’s the real kicker:  a public records request from City Hall shows Tax Increment Financing bonds of $54,867,710 still outstanding on this monument to creative public financing.  

Obviously there’s a lot about this issue I still don’t understand.  Anybody out there reading this who can fill in any of my blanks, please, please, please – don’t be shy.  In the meantime, City Hall is going to get yet another public records request from at least one very determined citizen.





2 thoughts on “wtf? #4 Board of Revision (PNC Center, 5th St.)

  1. executivedreamer Post author

    We’re all confused, Lynn. I feel so stupid. I’ve always considered myself a fairly well-informed citizen and yet I had no idea that it’s been standard operating procedure – probably not just in Cincinnati, but across the country – to heavily subsidize all the big office towers and exempt them from property taxes. The scariest part is that everybody else seems surprised, too.


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