Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Development and Taxes

Random statistics:  The property tax payoff for the SE 28th and Burnside condos.  An old greasy spoon Chinese restaurant on the corner of Burnside and 28th was torn down to make way for condos in 2009.  How much value did this create?

I'll use a real simple first order approximation and look at property taxes.  The figures are online at  The 32 condo units have a 2011 tax totaling $138,997 or an average of $4,344 per unit.  That's about 10% more then the average tax paid by the rest of the non tax-exempt property owners on the block, who actually own land!  To put those numbers in concrete terms, look at the map:

Now you might think there is something wrong with that block, maybe the land use is particularly ill-conceived and atypical.  So I rolled up the taxes on the block south as well.  That block had an even lower average tax, a few points below the Burnside block the condos sit on.  Here is a total view:
So that little sliver of condos pays almost as much in taxes as the rest of the two blocks combined.  To put it another way, the condo development almost doubled the tax revenue coming from the two blocks.

Who benefits from the taxes?  Pretty much everyone.  It is money for schools, the city, the county, and just about every other local municipal agency.  Even the greasy spoon came out better off.  And best of all it was accomplished without coercion, but by just staying out of the way and letting change happen.  Keep that in mind the next time you hear about a development proposal.

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