The building that served for decades as St. Francis Hospital, which hasn't been occupied for years and is imagined as hundreds of apartments by its new owner, has been "revalued" by the El Paso County Assessor's Office, but the new value isn't being released.
Assessor Steve Schleiker revisited the value after the Independent published a story ("The real deal," May 4) saying the reported $50,000 pricetag for the 235,666-square-foot, multi-story structure at 825 E. Pikes Peak Ave. wasn't the only compensation provided by the buyer — an entity controlled by developer David Jenkins.
The Indy reported that Jenkins also provided a donation of roughly $1 million to Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation as part of the deal. The seller was Catholic Health Initiatives Colorado, which owns all of the buildings in the Penrose-St. Francis system.
The property's value for tax purposes was listed at $1.8 million prior to the sale, though Catholic Health Initiatives is a nonprofit that's not subject to paying property taxes. After the 2014 sale, the value was changed based on the sales price of $50,000, and also on the condition of the building, which reportedly contains asbestos.
David Howard, former director of facilities and construction at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services who was aware of the deal's terms, says he wasn't contacted by Schleiker.
Schleiker says via email the new "estimated property value" for tax purposes for tax year 2017 will be shown on a value notice to be sent next May.
That value isn't being released, he says, because his office just recently began the 2017 reappraisal process and many of the county's property values will not be determined next year. Second, he says, "I feel that it is only right that the current property owner has first right to review their 'new' 2017 value(s)." Lastly, if a value were revealed prior to May 1, 2017, the property owner could appeal ahead of other property owners, and there are statutory timelines for appeals.
"With this building being exempt for 85-plus years, we did not have property sketches on the main building and/or auxiliary buildings, which required my staff to measure, sketch and input them into our valuation system," Schleiker says.
Noting the state recommends demolition costs associated with redevelopment be considered when analyzing a sale, Schleiker says, "If a buyer paid less for the land knowing they will have to pay for demolishing buildings, then the value can reflect the discount until demolition is complete."
Jenkins, chairman of Nor'wood Development Group, also owns the old Gazette building west of the hospital, and plans an overhaul of the area that will include residential and commercial development.
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