As Municipal Tax Revenues Fall, Senior Housing Deals Get Caught In Money Grab

As real estate tax revenues continue to fall, many municipalities may start reconsidering and / or challenging exemptions or tax breaks that were once offered as part of the the locality’s lure for developers and investors or aggressive stances taken as part of senior housing initiatives. One such example is the high profile, retirement home in Chicago’s Gold Coast owned by Loyola University Chicago but leased by the Franciscan Sisters religious order. Earlier this fall the Cook County Assessor determined that someone must pay property taxes on the Clare at WaterTower, a 57-story luxury high-rise CCRC. The assessment, according to the Cook County assessor’s office, was triggered by the transfer of control of the property under a 99-year lease from Loyola University to The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corp. Certainly the assessment will be challenged but think of the special assessments that could come through as a charge to those who paid between $500,000 and $1.2 million per unit…transfer stamps on the buyer’s side run $7.50 and $3.00 for the seller’s side for every thousand dollars…..pittance for those who can afford the entrance fees but a big deal for the county in the aggregate.