A recent decision to condemn part of the Bangor Mall will not bolster the mall owners’ argument that the city overvalued the property for tax purposes, according to two Bangor officials.
Bangor condemned part of the mall which housed a Sears department store and a car garage in January after local businessman Nathan Reardon tried to move there. The city deemed the space unsuitable for use due to a lack of heating and a working sprinkler system, and had denied Reardon a permit to erect a required firewall in the space. .
Reardon pleaded not guilty last May to fraudulently obtaining a federal COVID loan for one of his businesses.
A spokesperson for Namdar Realty LLC, one of the Bangor Mall’s owning companies, said mall management is working closely with the city and the code enforcement office to “resolve any issues relating to the property in question”, but did not answer a question. whether he planned to appeal his assessment based on the code office’s posting.
The New York-based company specializes in buying declining real estate properties, like shopping malls and retail outlets.
The display of part of the Bangor Mall should not affect the value of the property as Reardon’s actions did not fundamentally change the structure of the building, precluding any case the owners might make for future reduction, according to Bangor Code Enforcement Manager Jeff Wallace and City Assessor Phil Drew.
Thomaston assessor David Martucci echoed this, adding that condemning a building for misuse was not the same as condemning a building for having structural problems. Still, taxpayers could end up footing the bill if the Bangor Mall appeals its latest assessment.
Companies often appeal their valuation in order to receive a lower tax bill, or an abatement, which drains resources when valuators have to review or defend their valuations, especially if they appeal to the State Board of Review property tax, Martucci said.
“Even if the city succeeds in defending its values, taxpayers still have to pay the legal costs to do all of this,” he said. “So, indeed, the taxpayer is going to be affected whether they succeed or not.”
The owners of the Bangor Mall have appealed their assessments several times. Two of those assessments, for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, were settled after the owners appealed to the State Board of Property Tax Review, while two other appeals, for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, are settled. still ongoing as the state board works through vacancies and a backlog of cases.