Thursday, September 24, 2015

Unhappy with property tax appraisal, Shepherd Square sues HCAD, as do many other owners of commercial real estate

It's that time of the year again when property owners dissatisfied with their HCAD appraisals -  and the outcome of their administrative protest - take to the courts in an effort to get the dollar figures revised downwards. For many, the appraised value has increased substantially as the real estate bust has given way to boom. The owner of Shepherd Square Shopping Center, anchored by Randalls in the Southeast corner of the intersection of Westheimer and Shepherd Drive is one of them. 

Shepherd Square, which was put on the Inner Loop map by Houston real estate developer Ed Wulfe in 1989 consists of multiple units with several street addresses and distinct tax account numbers. It was Wulfe's inaugural project. See Ed Wulfe profile in recent issue of HBJ. 
The units making up the largest tax account, which includes the building with ca 94,000 square foot of rentable space, was originally appraised at $22,175,488, a considerable increase over the $13,998.616 for 2014. After an administrative protest by SHEPHERD INVESTORS, LP, the appraisal for 2015 was lowered to $17,941.005. The purpose of the lawsuit against HCAD is to bring the appraised value down further to reduce the tax burden. 

The petition for judicial review filed against the Harris County Appraisal District contains standard allegations of unfair and excessive appraisal relative to similar properties. It also claims that an antiquated method was used to determine value and that not all of the factors relevant to market value were properly considered. Here is an assembly of snippets from the 7-page petition filed Sep. 14, 2015 for SHEPHERD INVESTORS LP by a law firms based in North Texas. 

Excerpts from Shepherd Square Owner's Petition filed in Harris County District Court
Click on image to enlarge  


Randalls 2075 Westheimer Rd., Shepherd Square Shopping Center, Houston, TX 77098
Anchor tenant at Shepherd Square: Randalls Flagship Store
2075 Westheimer Rd., Shepherd Square Shopping Center, Houston, TX 77098
Shepherd Square Tenant List (sign at Westheimer entrance) Dec 2014
Shepherd Square Tenants (Dec 2014) 
Shepherd Square Shopping Center
2075 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098
Chrrascos with new signage after recent 25th anniversary facelift (Aug 2015 pic)
Twin Oak Cleaners & Laundry in Shepherd Square
with The Huntington Condo Tower in the background (Kirby Dr.) 
West side fronting S Shepherd - Multiple tenants  

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