Property owner rejects Re-1’s bid
Post Independent Staff
One property owner has rejected the school district’s offer to buy his building and land to expand Glenwood Springs High School, but negotiations with another property owner look promising.
Terry Fattor said Re-1 offered him only 50 percent of the property’s value. Garfield County recently assessed Fattor’s commercial property behind True Value at $922,800. The district had a private appraisal of Fattor’s property and offered him half that amount, Fattor said.
“They certainly aren’t showing us any respect at all,” Fattor said, noting a lack of communication directly from the district.
Fattor’s building houses Glenwood Gymnastics Academy and Italian Ice, and was the former home of Defiance Thrift Store and Valley Refrigeration.
The district acknowledged a discrepancy in the values, but would only say “extenuating circumstances,” accounted for the difference.
“There is absolutely a discrepancy between what the appraisal says the value is and what Mr. Fattor believes (the value is),” superintendent Fred Wall said. “I do not believe (the county’s assessment) is an appraisal that can be worked off of.”
County-assessed values are typically very reliable, said Mark Wyman, co-owner of The Real Estate Specialists. In fact, in the Roaring Fork Valley commercial properties typically sell for more than the county-assessed value, he said.
One reason is that county values are at least a year old because of the nature of the assessment process. Another is because the county is conservative in its assessment because it doesn’t want to overburden its commercial tax base that pays taxes based on property value, Wyman said.
On the other hand, “I would not be surprised that the appraised value is less than the county’s assessed value,” he said.
It’s common to get different appraisals during a single real estate transaction, Wyman said. The appraiser can be given any number of instructions on how to appraise a property by his employer. He said a property can be appraised based on how it is used, as raw land, how it will be used, or almost any other criteria.
If WestTerra was instructed to appraise Fattor’s property as it is currently being used, the value should have been close to the county’s assessed value, Wyman said.
The representative of Denver’s WestTerra company who did the appraisal was not available for comment.
Fattor had hoped to sell his property without using lawyers or going through condemnation, but if what he thinks is a fair price can’t be reached, he’ll have no choice.
“I don’t want it to go that far, but it’s not up to me, it’s up to them,” he said.
The district also hopes to avoid condemnation.
“We’re real optimistic that it doesn’t come to that,” said Kathy Tully, of Planning Services Co., who is negotiating the property purchases for the district.
The district has also made offers to two other property owners ” the Sommer Family Trust, which owns the land True Value uses, and Dr. Gregg Welsh, who owns residential properties.
The Sommer Family Trust couldn’t be reached for comment, but the negotiations with Welsh seem to be going well.
“The offer is generally acceptable to Dr. Welsh, and we are negotiating some final details” said Larry Green, a Glenwood Springs attorney who represents Welsh, a California dentist.
Green declined to comment on whether the district offered the assessed value of Welsh’s property, but said, ” I believe that Dr. Welsh and the district are acting in good faith.”
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