Bears’ Arlington Heights property valued at $125M, Board of Review decides – NBC Chicago

The Chicago Bears would see a slight reduction in their property tax bill – but still double what they hoped it would be – after the Cook County Board of Review valued their Arlington Heights land at nearly $125 million.

The three commissioners’ staff met for more than five hours to come to an agreement on the market value of the 326-acre site, ultimately landing at $124,691,296. The value is for one year, taxed at the commercial rate of 25%, rather than the vacant rate of 10% that the Bears wanted after demolishing the buildings on the property. That taxing rate was set because the buildings were still on the site through December, officials said.

At a hearing last month, an attorney for the Bears contended last month that the property should be valued at $60 million after the team submitted two appraisals, one placing the value at $60 million and the other at $71 million. At the same hearing, an attorney for three suburban school districts – which rely on property taxes for their funding and intervened in the Bears’ appeal – argued the property is worth $160 million.

That left a $100 million gap between the two sides, who negotiated for months but were given a deadline of Feb. 17 to reach a deal. They were unable to come to an agreement, putting the decision back in the hands of the Board of Review.

The Bears purchased the site that once housed the Arlington International Racecourse for $197.2 million in February 2023, looking to build a multi-billion dollar stadium development on the site with restaurants, stores, a hotel, residential real estate and more.

As the Bears moved to buy the site, during the triennial reassessment, the Cook County Assessor’s office increased the value of the property from $33 million to $197 million. That would have hiked the tax bill proportionally, nearly six-fold. The Bears’ attorney argued that increase amounted to “sales chasing,” in violation of state law.

Negotiations over the Chicago Bears’ property tax bill are ongoing, with the fate of an Arlington Heights stadium development in the balance as the team and the surrounding school districts remain $100 million apart in their valuations of the site, NBC Chicago’s Alex Maragos reports.

Because property taxes in Cook County lag by a year, the former owner Churchill Downs was on the hook for that first bill at the higher value. Churchill Downs negotiated a one-year deal with the school districts for a $95 million value. The assessor’s office then raised the value again to $192 million and the Bears appealed once more.

After failing to reach a deal with the school districts by Saturday’s deadline, the Bears’ attorney sent a letter kicking the decision back to the Board of Review, asking them to consider several factors: the previous settlement value of $95 million, the Bears’ demolition of the buildings on the property, as well as similar commercial real estate sales.

Commissioner Samantha Steele said her team reached a value of $138 million.

“We looked at comparable sales over the past two years, we analyzed the appraisals, we looked at the sales submitted in both appraisals and we looked at what assets were left,” Steele said, adding that she felt the attorneys on both sides had substantial arguments. “I always say, value, it’s an opinion. Us appraisers are taught it’s an opinion of value and so while you may have one opinion, I could have another – generally they should be somewhere in the ballpark.”

Now that the Board of Review has reached a value, it will be sent back to the assessor’s office for certification by the end of the month. Once the value is certified, the Bears or the school districts could appeal to the Property Tax Appeal Board or file a complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, though both would likely be lengthy processes.

The Bears have long said they needed property tax “certainty” before developing the site, which would be a years-long process, and that their purchase of the land was not a guarantee that they would build.

The property tax dispute has helped put the possibility of the team staying within the city of Chicago back on the table, as they’ve since reopened conversations with the administration of Mayor Brandon Johnson, who took office after the Bears bought the northwest suburban site.

Representatives for both the Bears and the three school districts declined to comment Wednesday.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button


Get our latest downloads and information first. Complete the form below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

100% secure your website.