Cook County hikes Trump Tower property taxes

Assessor estimates property is worth 68 percent more than last year

Donald Trump in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago (Trump Organization, Getty Images, iStock)
Donald Trump in front of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago (Trump Organization, Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Chicago’s assessor says the retail portion of Trump International Hotel & Tower is worth 68 percent more than last year, pointing toward a big tax hike.

The move to value it at $21 million came a year after Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi cut the value on the mostly vacant space by 37 percent, effectively giving Trump a $330,000 tax break, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

The tax bill won’t be finalized until after the June 28 primary election for the assessor’s office. Kaegi, a Democrat, faces Kari Steele, president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, in his bid for re-election.

Kaegi said the higher valuation is part of his plan to increase the share that commercial properties pay in property taxes and isn’t an election-year stunt to attract votes in the Democratic primary.

“The increase of the value of Trump Tower by my office is consistent with other similar properties in that neighborhood and reflects a more equitable approach to assessing both residential and commercial properties under my administration,” Kaegi said in a statement. “No longer will homeowners or small businesses end up paying more due to systemic under-assessment of large commercial properties like Trump Tower.”

The assessor’s office valued the retail portion of the building at $12.5 million last year and initially said it was worth $25.8 million. Trump’s attorney Patrick McNerney submitted an appraisal, calling the space obsolete and saying it’s worth no more than $13.2 million.

“Nothing has occurred since the assessor’s December 2020 decision to support a 106% increase in value,” McNerney wrote. “Occupancy hasn’t changed.”

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The assessor’s office then lowered its estimate to $21 million.

Under the last accessor, the property paid $347,630 in property taxes in 2018 and $496,927 in 2019. In 2020, the Trump Tower bill increased to $1 million after Kaegi’s office denied Trump’s request for a vacancy discount. Trump got a vacancy break last year — a 37% cut in the assessment, which lowered last year’s tax bill to $698,399.

According to his attorney’s appeal, Trump earned less than $200,000 on leases for the retail property. His two tenants include a hair salon and a small dock on the Chicago River leased to a river cruise.

McNerney didn’t reply to a request for comment from the Sun Times.

The retail space has remained 95 percent vacant since the building opened in 2008, according to the Sun Times.

[Chicago Sun Times] — Miranda Davis

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