Dropbox, Golden State Warriors appealing SF property assessments

Appeals show how some of the city’s property owners and companies are adjusting to the pandemic — and its longer-term implications

San Francisco /
Nov.November 24, 2021 12:53 PM
Joe Lacob, majority owner of the Golden State Warriors (Getty Images, SHVO/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Dropbox, the Golden State Warriors, and Wells Fargo are among those looking to lower San Francisco property tax bills as the city struggles to rebound from the pandemic.

The three companies appealed the assessed values of buildings they either own or occupy, or both, Bloomberg CityLab reported. The Warriors aim to cut the assessed value of the Chase Center, where it plays home games, by more than $1 billion. Dropbox, which made remote work standard last year, wants to cut the taxable value of its 750,000-square-foot headquarters complex by almost half.

Overall, taxpayers representing about $50 billion of assessed value challenged their numbers for 2021, up by about 25 percent from the previous year, according to a Bloomberg analysis. The city uses those values to calculate property tax rates, which it then uses to figure out tax bills and revenue.

Other companies appealing assessments include the owner of the Westin St. Francis Hotel, an LLC affiliated with Strategic Hotels & Resorts, which wants the city to lower the hotel’s value by 75 percent, or $768 million. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is seeking a $307 million reduction, or a drop of 41 percent, while the group that owns the Transamerica Pyramid, the city’s second-tallest building, is asking for a 50 percent cut, excluding personal property and fixtures.

The appeals underscore how some San Franciscans are adjusting to the pandemic and its longer-term implications, one of which has been the city’s slow rebound relative to similarly sized cities across the U.S. More than one-fifth of downtown office space was vacant at the end of last quarter, compared with 16 percent nationwide, according to Bloomberg. San Francisco has so far recovered less than half the jobs it lost during the pandemic, compared with the U.S. average of 80 percent, according to federal data.

“What we’re seeing right now is more pronounced in San Francisco,” Ted Egan, the city’s chief economist, told Bloomberg. “If we enter a period where we really have permanently reduced office demand, then we could see a permanent reset on rent, which would in time translate into lower property values and potentially lower assessed values.”

Representatives for Dropbox, Strategic Hotels & Resorts, the Golden State Warriors and Shvo, which co-led the group that acquired the Transamerica Pyramid and two adjacent buildings last year, didn’t respond to requests for comment. A Wells Fargo representative didn’t follow up on a request for comment.

[Bloomberg CityLab] — Matthew Niksa





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