Condo associations for two Collins Avenue towers sue to overturn 2016 property assessments

Unit owners at parts of Carillon Beach in Miami Beach and the St. Regis in Bal Harbour are contesting $1.3M and $2.6M, respectively

St. Regis Bal Harbour and The Carillon Miami Beach Inset: Pedro Garcia
St. Regis Bal Harbour and The Carillon Miami Beach Inset: Pedro Garcia

The assessment war between Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia and the owners of prominent properties across the county rages on.

In the latest skirmish, the condominium associations for two oceanfront luxury towers on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach and Bal Harbour are suing Garcia, Miami-Dade Tax Collector Marcus Saiz de la Mora and Leon Biegalski, Florida Department of Revenue’s executive director, in an attempt to significantly reduce property assessments from 2016. How Garcia calculates a property’s value determines how much in taxes the collector levies against owners of luxury buildings.

A spokeswoman for Garcia said the appraiser’s office doesn’t comment on pending litigation and Jason Block, the attorney for Central Carillon Beach Condominium Association and for the Bal Harbour Center Condominium Association, did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. Central Carillon is a 36-story tower at 6801 Collins Avenue that was formerly Canyon Ranch Residences Miami Beach. Bal Harbour Center is a 27-story residential building at 9703 Collins Avenue that is part of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort and Residences complex.

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The July 26 complaints filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court allege that the property appraiser’s assessments for the common elements of the two towers are “arbitrarily based on appraisal practices which are not professionally accepted” and “are not standard practice in Miami-Dade.”

The Carillon Beach condo association is contesting $1.3 million in combined taxes and assessments for 140 unit owners. On behalf of 55 unit owners, the Bal Harbour Center condo association is fighting $2.6 million in combined taxes and assessments.

Since his reelection in 2014, litigation between Garcia and property owners has ramped up. Last year, the property appraiser filed more than two dozen civil lawsuits to undo reduced assessments granted to property owners by the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board. Garcia’s predecessor, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera, did not initiate any lawsuits against property owners that received value adjustments during his one year in office.