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06/26/87 In Re Application of the County Treasurer and Ex Officio

June 26, 1987

IN RE APPLICATION OF THE COUNTY TREASURER AND EX OFFICIO


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

COUNTY COLLECTOR OF COOK COUNTY (Cook County

Collector, Applicant-Appellee; C & K

Distributors, Inc., Objector-Appellant)

510 N.E.2d 1114, 157 Ill. App. 3d 803, 110 Ill. Dec. 83 1987.IL.891

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Robert J. Dempsey, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE MURRAY delivered the opinion of the court. SULLIVAN, P.J., and PINCHAM, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MURRAY

This is an appeal by a Chicago taxpayer, C & K Distributors, Inc. , from an order entered by the trial court granting the Cook County collector's cross-motion for summary judgment in a real estate tax objection proceeding. C & K is the lessee of property (a one-story warehouse building) located at 555 North Tripp in Chicago. The property is owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (Northwestern). Northwestern had developed an industrial park where the property is located. The property consists of 187,530 square feet of floor area and is situated on a 519,000 square foot site.

In 1978, Northwestern leased the property to C & K. Under the terms of the lease, C & K was responsible for the real estate taxes assessed against the property. C & K expended $271,000 to convert the building on the property to a structure suitable for its purposes, including receiving, storing and distribution of beer and malt products, sales, general office activities and light repair of trucks. Thereafter, the property was assigned a Class 5 assessment (taxed at 40% of its market value) as industrial real property pursuant to the Cook County Real Property Assessment Classification Ordinance (Ord. No. 80 -- 0 -- 14, approved March 3, 1980).

C & K subsequently applied to the Cook County assessor, Thomas Hynes (assessor), and the Cook County board of appeals for a reclassification of the entire property (both land and building) as Class 6 industrial real estate (taxed at 16% of its market value) for the 1980 and 1981 tax years. In order to receive Class 6 treatment, the real estate must be "used exclusively for industrial purposes located in an 'area in need of industrial development' upon which new construction has occurred or upon which substantial rehabilitation has added value to the real estate." Cook County Ord. 80 -- 0 -- 14, sec. 2.

The assessor, acting on C & K's complaint for the 1981 tax year, found that substantial rehabilitation of the property had added $600,000 to it in market value. As to that amount, the assessor applied a Class 6-16% assessment and applied a Class 5-40% tax assessment to the remaining value of the real estate. Similar relief for the 1980 tax year was recommended by the assessor through the issuance of a certificate of error (1980, No. 3649) in accordance with the Illinois Revenue Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, par. 604). The board of appeals concurred in the assessor's action and the circuit court of Cook County affirmed it in September 1984.

Thereafter, C & K filed specific tax objections for both 1980 and 1981 pursuant to the Illinois Revenue Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, pars. 675, 716). It then moved for summary judgment in the subsequent tax objection proceeding, requesting that its land, as well as the improvement to the building, be reclassified as Class 6 industrial real estate and taxed at 16% of the market value. The Cook County collector filed a cross-motion requesting the court to affirm the actions of the assessor and board of appeals. On January 17, 1986, the court denied C & K's motion and granted the county collector's cross-motion for summary judgment.

On appeal from the foregoing order, C & K first argues that the trial court erroneously affirmed a hybrid real estate classification illegally created by the assessor and the board of appeals through its affirmance (by assessing its real estate as part Class 5 and part Class 6) and, as a result, "only a percentage of the value of the substantially rehabilitated improvement and none of the land value was placed in the appropriate real estate classification [Class 6]." C & K contends that the entire real estate should be classified as Class 6 property and assessed a 16% tax. The county taxing ...


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