City assessor Justin Maxwell answered my questions. He told me it was not five but six properties, and, on the advice of corporation counsel Andy Howard, the exemptions would be granted. Maxwell could not tell me which properties they were, because he hadn't committed them to memory, but I called him after the meeting, when he was back in his office, and he provided the addresses.
201-203 Warren Street
67-71 North Fifth Street
202-204 Warren Street
364-366 Warren Street
325 and 327 State StreetThese two buildings were also acquired by Galvan Asset Management when it took over Housing Resources and are already wholly exempt from property taxes.
When I asked about the justification for removing the buildings from the tax rolls, Maxwell explained that the Galvan Foundation was a registered not-for-profit, and providing affordable housing is part of its stated mission. So long as the apartments in the buildings are rented at below market rates, the buildings fulfill the mission of the foundation and qualify to be wholly tax exempt. He also pointed out that when the buildings stood empty, they were on the tax rolls, but when they are rehabbed and rented out at below market rates, they would be wholly tax exempt. It would appear that Galvan's vast collection of real estate could eventually all be off the tax rolls, with only a few exceptions, leaving the burden of providing the tax revenue needed to run the City to the rest of us.
I also asked Maxwell how buildings could be wholly tax exempt when they had commercial space that was rented to for-profit enterprises. Princeton Architectural Press occupies the entire first floor of 202-204 Warren Street, Little Apple is on the ground floor of 364 Warren Street, and Hudson Home occupies all of 366 Warren Street. He seemed unaware of this situation and promised to check into it.
Update--Wednesday, June 13, 4:30 p.m. I just received word from Justin Maxwell, the city assessor, that the properties in question have, at this point, not been removed from the tax rolls. The requests for them to become wholly exempt from property taxes are currently being evaluated by the BAR (Board of Assessment Review), which is made up of three members: Rachel Kappel, Philip Osattin, and Phil Forman. Presumably in a few weeks, when the final assessment rolls are released, we will know if the properties have become wholly exempt or not.
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