Overdue taxes jeopardize historic property deal 

Budget Analyst Harvey Rose is recommending that the Board of Supervisors reject a proposed contract with The City 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.

"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.

Not only that, but Rose 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.

The report doesn’t bode well for the application.  For the deal to go through, the Board of Supervisors would have to approve it. The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee holds a hearing Wednesday on the contract.

In exchange for the tax breaks, the property owner would rehab and maintain “the existing historical one-story brick building at 166-178 Townsend St., which currently is a parking garage,” the report says. “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.

A Mills Act application was submitted by 178 Townsend Properties, LLC, which owns 166-178 Townsend Street, that details the rehab work and maintenance plan for the property, and The City’s Historic Preservation Commission recommended approval of the historical property contract.

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