Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 09/02/2009 - 19:13.

A filing by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Partnership/Tower City Avenue LLC - i. e., Sam and the boys, have asked for a value reduction on parcel number 101-23-101F. It is ever so with the Tower City bunch. Reduce my taxes, please!


The filing asks a reduction of $105,736 in the value of the property to be taxed. They say the value of the Ritz should be lower than what the County has set it.


The request is justified for the following reason, according to the filing: “Recent sale(s) or comparable properties. Physical, economic, functional depreciation or obsolescence. Economic valuation based on gross or net income.”


According to an official of the Board of Revision, which takes such complaints, the part of the form that must be filled out, wasn’t done. The four selections remain blank.


I wonder if guests know that the Ritz-Carlton says it’s not as good as it is supposed to be.


The requested tax relief comes even though the Ritz has enjoyed 100 percent tax abatement in the recent past.


It is hard to expect, as I said in a previous posting, the Ratners and Sam Miller not to seek property tax relief, or evasion of a type. It’s in their financial DNA to not want to pay taxes, in my experience.


I reported recently that they asked for a $17 reduction of a property. Hardly seems worth it, right? But with such developers it’s the principle of it, I guess. They shouldn’t be paying property taxes at all is the way they must figure it. Let somebody else do it.


I did ask the Board of Revision for other tax reduction requests in the 101 portion of downtown Cleveland.


The Tower City boys had the most. The other reductions they sought include $425,288 for parcel 101-23-100C; $253,420 for parcel 101-23-100A; and 191,821 for parcel 101-23-085E. As I have said before the Tower City properties have many parcel numbers because there are a number of levels to the buildings there.


The total reductions come close to $1 million for these Tower City properties. Expect plenty more in number and value next year as the latest valuations are contested.


Because of this year’s reassessments next year many property owners downtown will be seeking reductions because of economic reasons, i.e., the economic downturn.


What this will mean for Cuyahoga County and especially Cleveland since downtown properties are all in Cleveland we know – a dismal economic outlook.


Here again is a reason why tax abatements hurt so much.


Buildings such as the Ritz-Carlton, the Marriott, Key Center and other downtown properties have been paying no taxes for much of the last two decades. Not that there’s a money crunch (and even before) the city will be suffering from the lack of revenue.


As these abated properties finally come back onto the tax rolls, what happens? The owners seek substantial reductions in the value of their properties. Some have sought reductions even when under abatement, foreseeing the desire to lower their taxes when back on the rolls.


Instead of an uptick in tax revenue, Clevelanders and Mayor Frank Jackson, the likely re-elected mayor, will really have a problem in the next few years. Cleveland schools, which get some 55 percent of the property tax revenue, will be hit even harder.


As a community we face a coming disaster with the loss of property tax revenue.


Here any cries of the danger from the Plain Dealer or Brent Larkin, who is worried about who is going to be the one County official that the Establishment can control come County reform. He’s even picking the one for the job. (I thought he was going to leave the editorializing to Betsy Sullivan, his replacement. He said he was but I guess he was not telling the whole truth. Then I should have known.)


Add to that, of course, is the tax exempted stadiums and arena and the likely new Medical Mart – tax to never pay any property taxes.


 We can thank George Voinovich – who always gets credited for fiscal responsibility – George Forbes – who never has been credited with fiscal responsibility – for this situation, exacerbated by Mayor White and Commissioner Tim Hagan.


But these are the guys we choose. Time to be wiser citizens.


We do need, however, good information. Wonder whose responsibility that might be?



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Do they still have any abatements left?


Do they still have any abatements left? I have to wonder now that you brought it up.

Wondering what they paid over the past decades, the actual changes?

Seems to me that many of the initial abatements should be or have ended recently.

To bad that happened during an economic downturn.

I would not assume that they are doing well enough as developers these days, that’s all related to construction and all that related to the false values related to the sub-prime debacle.

The best educational system has small community based schools, the same for health care. A cluster as in a service area, ideally its funding should be primarily derived from that cluster. Then augmented through or by highly developed industrial and commercial clusters.

Then made all the more efficient with walking districts, live and work areas. That’s about the cost of living function and reducing it.

Many have attempted to sit down with Sam Miller and get access to his capital and resources. But none have been effective in getting him in alignment on something that really would make a difference.

I like the idea of bringing in a logistics giant, and then addressing rail, its time for that. I suggest Alstom and aligning them on the high speed rail, but taking it further. It would be about addressing all the rail systems and about combining it into ODOT and also RTA.

I would suggest making them an offer, to get them to open a US office here and then to manage and provide the knowledge and equipment. That about a national headquarters, it could be in tower city? Thats appropriate since it is the major rail terminal.

Its about regional reform, its about districts based on the townships boundaries and each having access to rail services and each developing a walking district, commercial districts and industrial zones. It’s about changing and integrating. Its about moving forward and simultaneously drawing some national attention.

Its about modules and networks, its about intelligent stratifications and clusters.

Alstom does rail in Europe, they could do it here and we should be getting the jump on it all. Shifting resources from roads by offering the alternative.

Its about addressing the cost of living as a function, and housing and transportation as large components costs of that fucntion.

Then adding in services like health care and education, with lower cost as the goal. That’s about reducing cost though central administrative processes, but simultaneously building community based service centers. That’s about magic numbers, like ratios. The ratio of doctors to residents, the ratio of student to teachers. Then having some that are very close in, that being within a walking community as that saves on costs. If the employees also live within walking distance then that in turn reduces costs.

Compressively these initiatives reduce demand, they reduce the costs of relative factors. Not driving, and then it is imperative to have the housing as efficient and affordable. However it should not be subsidized, it needs to be open to all that can afford it at the lowest price possible. 

These clusters should serve as commercial centers, for those outside of them as well. Concentrated development, then linking them through rail to other areas. That’s about logistics and hubs of commerce, its about industry, warehousing and commerce.

Making it all efficient, making sure it can operate profitably, making sure it is highly adaptable to the changing markets.