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updated: 8/6/2014 9:03 AM

Woodfield Mall's tax bill jumps 23 percent

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  • Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg saw its property tax bill jump by 23 percent, to $23 million.

       Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg saw its property tax bill jump by 23 percent, to $23 million.
    Daily Herald File Photo | Staff Photographer

 
 

Woodfield Mall not only has one of the biggest tax bills in Cook County, it also saw the largest tax bill increase -- a 23 percent jump to $23 million.

The Schaumburg mall's tax bill skyrocketed because of an increase in the shopping center's market value, Cook County officials said. While most commercial tax bills rose in Cook County, Woodfield's was the only one whose percentage jumped by double digits.

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Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates, for example, only saw its property bill rise by 1.4 percent, to $13.4 million, the Cook County Treasurer's office reported.

Woodfield's property tax bill ranks as the second-highest in Cook County behind the Willis Tower in Chicago, which had a $25.3 million bill, a 2.4 percent increase from last year.

Woodfield is jointly owned by the Institutional Mall Investors and Simon Property Group, which declined to comment.

Property owners have several avenues to appeal their tax bills, and it is unclear whether Woodfield's owners have done so.

Assessing the value of the 2.2 million-square-foot regional mall is a complicated process because there is no property to compare it to, Cook County Deputy Assessor Thomas Jaconetty said.

Jaconetty, who helped calculate Woodfield's $326.2 million valuation price -- on which the property taxes were based -- said his office requested a significant amount of detailed information from Simon and IMI and also met with company representatives while working on the assessment.

"There's no point in putting out an assessment that isn't grounded in the data," he said.

Some of the factors taken into account were the amount of income the property can generate, its management, its history, its location, and the value of other regional malls in the U.S.

Woodfield's value might have been boosted when, last year, Simon acquired a 50 percent stake in the mall for $505 million, putting its full value in the $1 billion range, according to a report in Crain's Chicago Business.

The Cook County assessor ultimately determined that Woodfield's value had increased by 12 percent since 2012, Jaconetty said.

"A mall is a very interesting and complex animal," he said. "It's a complicated, significant piece of real estate for which you have to bring a significant amount of support to judge all of the factors."

Even if you're a big business like Woodfield Mall, you deserve to pay your fair share of property taxes, Jaconetty added.

A boost in taxable value for a big commercial property can be a boon for homeowners and other businesses in the area, who then have to shoulder less of the total tax burden.

Simon Property Group in the largest real estate company in the world. IMI is a co-investment venture owned, in part, by CalPERS, the nation's largest public pension fund.

In January 2013, the mall had a $425 million mortgage, with a 4.5 percent interest rate, which matured in March 2024, according to the Simon Property Group.

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