Syracuse agrees to $2.5M assessment reduction on National Grid HQ

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Syracuse, N.Y. — City lawyers recently agreed to lower the assessment on National Grid’s iconic downtown building, saving the company nearly $18,000 a year in city and school property taxes.

The city will refund National Grid $17,905 in taxes already paid as part of a settlement for an ongoing lawsuit over the company’s tax bill.

Moving forward, the assessment on the former Niagara Mohawk building at 300-20 Erie Blvd. W. will drop from $13,851,000 to $11,500,000. The assessment on the property National Grid owns at 409 W. Genesse St. will be reduced from $591,000 to $396,000. The assessment on four other parcels Grid owns will stay the same.

National Grid’s annual city and school tax bill is about $432,000 on its six properties, according to county records.

National Grid took the city to court in 2015 to challenge its assessment on those six parcels, including the historic Niagara Mohawk building and the adjacent parking lot. The company had filed an assessment grievance with the city, but it was rejected.

In the lawsuit, National Grid argued its assessment was more than the market value of the property and disproportionate to the rest of the city.

Lawyers for National Grid requested an assessment of $8.5 million on the downtown headquarters, based on a market value of $10.4 million. On average, city properties were assessed for 81.5% of their market value at the time of the lawsuit, lawyers argued.

The city settled with National Grid this year. Under the agreement, National Grid’s assessment will remain unchanged for tax years from 2015 to 2020. Two of the six parcels will get reductions totaling just more than $2.5 million in assessed value. The rest will remain unchanged.

The Common Council will vote on the settlement Monday.

In a letter to the council, Syracuse Corporation Counsel Kristen Smith said the settlement was in the best interest of the city.

“In my opinion, this settlement represents as good, if not more favorable, resolution of this case for the city than could be obtained at trial,” she wrote.

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