The San Francisco Giants say their taxes are too high. Join the club, huh guys?
In a complaint to the city’s Board of Assessment Appeals on Tuesday, the team claims that AT&T Park, the 41,900-seat ballpark that the Giants built in 2000 for roughly $200 million (about $278 million when adjusted for inflation), has significantly decreased in value.
The applicant's opinion in this case is that the joint was worth only $192 million in 2011, and has only declined further since. They put its present value at just over $158 million.
But according to the city, the appraisal of the waterfront property has exploded, more than doubling since the park’s completion and presently sitting at nearly $407 million, up about $100 million since 2011, the same year the Giants insist the price started to dip.
In a statement to the Chronicle, Giants lawyer Jack Bair essentially accused the city of bilking the team, saying that the Giant’s lease on the land is more like a car than a house. That is to say, it tends to get less valuable with use, rather than appreciating.
To a degree, this seems to make sense: Whereas a San Francisco house from 1960 may now be worth many times what it was when it was new even if in cases where it’s deteriorated, Candlestick Park, built the same year, was regarded as a dump so decrepit that its teams (including the Giants) forsook it in favor of new and shiny stadiums elsewhere. An entertainment venue is a commodity that’s sold to the public, and the public does seem to favor what’s new.
Still, if the value of AT&T Park has diminished, that puts it in a class all its own. The value of other properties in South Beach has almost tripled since 2000, and the blocks around AT&T Park are the most expensive within walking distance of any major league ballpark in the country.
This in the midst of a seemingly non-stop storm of real estate cash that has driven the value of land in San Francisco so high that it visibly doesn’t matter what’s built on it.
City Assessor Carmen Chu stands by her ballpark math. This is not the first time the team has challenged the city over property taxes—indeed, it’s something of an AT&T Park tradition. If the appeals board rules in the team’s favor, they’ll be owed $8 million in refunds for 2011-2014.