Crown Center getting tax refunds from county, township, Trinity district

May 1, 2014
Washington County commissioners recently refunded $15,747 in overpayment of taxes to the Washington Crown Center mall owners in accordance with a court settlement. - Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

When shoppers think of malls and taxes, sales tax may be the first thought that comes to mind.

The owners of Washington Crown Center mall, however, were concerned about another type of tax – property tax – when they appealed to Washington County Court the assessment of the real estate at 1500 W. Chestnut St. and Interstate 70, formerly known as Franklin Mall, in North Franklin Township.

Longstanding litigation over the taxable value of the property ended with a settlement among the governments that collect taxes and the property owner.

At their April 17 meeting, the Washington County commissioners approved a tax refund of $15,747 for the mall owners, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust.

The 45-year-old property has been the subject of a property tax appeal since 2009. The mall owners claimed the mall’s appraisal used a formula that lacked “uniformity and is otherwise unjust,” according to court records.

Bradley Boni, Washington County’s chief assessor, said the assessed valuation of the mall was reduced by $645,321, according to a settlement signed by Judge Gary Gilman.

According to the stipulation filed in Washington County Court, the mall’s assessment for 2010 and 2011 is $4.2 million, and, for 2012 and 2013, $4.9 million.

Boni calculated Trinity School District would be paying the mall owners a $66,000 tax refund, while the township would be refunding about $10,000.

The mall, which opened in 1969, has retail floor space of 676,136 square feet.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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