I started the wtf? series to highlight Hamilton County property valuations that didn’t make any sense to me.. Readers found my examples interesting, but eventually people wanted a more thorough statistical analysis for purposes of comparison. “Have you looked at properties in Price Hill?” a journalist asked. “Can you provide a complete list of parcels so we can judge for ourselves?” someone else suggested.
But I’m not a professional anything. I’m just an amateur working alone – and easily overwhelmed by the amount of data included in the Auditor’s records. I have no idea how to put together a valid study to accurately reflect the trends in property valuations across the city. While there seem to be systemic under-valuations on many of Cincinnati’s most expensive buildings, I don’t have the expertise to manipulate the Auditor’s files even though they gave me complete access to their database.
So I decided to ask Hamilton County’s recognized experts to at least go on record and explain their valuation on a single building: the building that sparked my curiosity about the logic behind their numbers. Last winter I filed a citizen’s complaint on Western & Southern’s 25 unit luxury apartments at 516 E. Fourth St. where the BOR lowered the value from $4,489,000 to $2,800,000 in 2003. In spite of the short supply of apartments in the City Center, the most successful condo project ever completed in the CBD directly across the street (2006-2007) and the highly successful Residence Inn at the Phelps (2011) on the other side of the property, the value of 516 E. Fourth is now less than the Board of Revision assessment in 2003: $2,527,080 – and the land value has been almost cut in half.
Here’s the per square foot value of my building, Park Place at Lytle across the street at 400 Pike St. compared to the per square foot value at 516 E. Fourth:
My hearing is this morning at 9:15 am. I can’t wait to hear what the experts have to say.
Wish me luck.