Highland Park Village Among Shopping Centers Suing DCAD

Categories: Biz
You think you're mad about your tax appraisal? Well, apparently you're not quite as pissed off as 11 local shopping centers, who today filed suit in Dallas County District Court claiming that the the Dallas Central Appraisal District and Dallas Appraisal Review Board jacked up their respective tax appraisals using a method that's ... that's ... unconstitutional! And among the shopping centers fed up with the DCAD is the granddaddy of all strip malls: the Highland Park Village, which, as you no doubt know, is a National Historic Landmark.

But the 11 shopping centers involved are claiming "their tax appraisals have increased this year by over $150 million," says a press release just received at UP HQ. Also involved in the suit: Preston Trail Plaza, the Frankford Oaks Shopping Center and eight others. Says the release, the entirety of which is after the jump, "The plaintiffs say the Dallas Central Appraisal District has deliberately targeted shopping centers, but has not done the same to many other office buildings, apartments or other commercial properties." In semi-related news, the pearl-button long-sleeve oxfords at Ralph Lauren Rugby in Highland Park Village are an excellent fit and an even better buy at under $60. --Robert Wilonsky

Update: If you want to read the complaint filed today, here it is.

Dallas Shopping Centers Sue Over Skyrocketing Tax Appraisals

Owners say tax appraisal process unconstitutional

DALLAS - Attorneys for 11 Dallas-area shopping centers today filed suit against the Dallas Central Appraisal District and the Dallas AppraisalReview Board based on claims that the method the district uses to calculate tax appraisals for businesses is unconstitutional.

The shopping centers involved, including Preston Trail Plaza and Highland Park Village, say their tax appraisals have increased this year by over $150 million. In many instances, the 2007 appraisals are more than double those of 2006.

For instance, while last year Dallas County appraised the Frankford Oaks Shopping Center at $1,625,000, this year's number is $4,808,520 -- almost three times the previous amount. Similarly, in 2006 the district appraised Preston Trail Plaza at $10,121,000, while this year's appraisal for the very same property amounts to $21,460,960.

As further proof of the problem, the plaintiffs cite 2007 tax appraisal figures from Collin County for the very same properties, which were $2,079,627 and $11,351,000, respectively, far less than the Dallas County numbers. Some of the property owners receive tax appraisal notices from
both Dallas and Collin counties because their properties lie in each district.

The plaintiffs say the Dallas Central Appraisal District has deliberately targeted shopping centers, but has not done the same to many other office buildings, apartments or other commercial properties. They also say the tax appraisals would result in dramatic rent increases for the more than 300 tenant businesses that occupy spaces in the various shopping centers.

"These shopping centers are willing to pay their fair share," says attorney Jeffrey A. Hage, Managing Shareholder of Winstead PC's Dallas office. "What they're not willing to do is pay double or even triple what they did last year."

Hage, who represents the shopping centers along with Winstead lawyers Tom Thomas and Jay Madrid, said owners also have filed protests with the appraisal district.

The lawsuit against the appraisal district was filed in Dallas County's 95th District Court. It alleges that methods used in compiling the appraisals violate sections of the Texas Constitution as well as the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


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