Historic property deal in limbo 

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee postponed for two weeks its decision on whether to approve a deal that would landmark a property at 166-178 Townsend Street in exchange for tax breaks and assurances the property would be restored and maintained in a certain way.

Budget Analyst Harvey Rose is recommending that the Board of Supervisors reject the proposed deal.

"The Budget analyst recommends disapproval of the requested Mills Act Historical Property contract to provide property tax reductions to the property owner because the property owner currently owes The City $105,126 in past-due delinquent property taxes for fiscal year 2005-06, FY 2008-09 and FY2009-10,” Rose says in his report.

Rose also said as the application is pending, the property owner increased the height of the project to add a sixth floor “such that The City’s estimated first year property tax losses from $170,961 to $185,599, an additional loss of $15,638, or 9. 1 percent,” the report says.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the project sponsor attempted to dispute how much was owed in taxes and suggested he set up a payment plan and has made a payment. Also it was brought into question what components of the project would actually be landmarked.

The property owner intends to develop the property into a six-story mixed use building, which would extend above the roofline of the existing historic brick building.

“The California Mills Act authorizes local governments to enter into a contract with the owners of a qualified historical property who agree to rehabilitate, restore, preserve and maintain the property in return for property tax reductions,” the legislation says.

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