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BELLEVE-STRATFORD COMPANY v. PHILADELPHIA (01/09/51)

January 9, 1951

BELLEVE-STRATFORD COMPANY
v.
PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 185, Jan. T., 1950, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1948, No. 5410, in case of Bellevue-Stratford Company v. City of Philadelphia. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Joseph H. Lieberman, Solicitor for Board of Revision of Taxes, with him Frank F. Truscott, City Solicitor and Michael D. Hayes, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellant.

Wm. E. Lingelbach, Jr., with him James S. Feight, W. James MacIntosh and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 366 Pa. Page 279]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

In an appeal from an assessment for taxation where the value of the land is not in dispute, may the value of the hotel building be fixed by expert testimony based upon comparative sales, replacement value, the obsolete design of the building and the income derived from the hotel business? The court below answered in the affirmative. This appeal followed.

The issue was narrowed at the argument to whether the court erred in admitting evidence of the income from the hotel business which was conducted upon the premises.

The litigation is well summarized by the court in banc dismissing exceptions to the adjudication: "The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel property, located at the southwest corner of Board and Walnut Streets in the City of Philadelphia, was assessed for tax purposes for the year 1949 in the amount of $3,577,500. The taxpayer appealed to the Board of Revision of Taxes, and the Board, on December 28, 1948, dismissed the appeal and refused to reduce the assessment. On February 24, 1949 the taxpayer filed its petition for a review of the assessment in the Court of Common Pleas and on September 30, 1949 the case was heard by Judge OLIVER.

"On November 10, 1949 Judge OLIVER entered his adjudication, in which he sustained the appeal and found that the fair market value of the property for the year 1949 was $3,166,922., allocating $1,766,922. to the land and $1,400,000. to the building. Thereafter defendant filed exceptions to the adjudication which were dismissed in due course.

"Section 13 of the Act of June 27, 1939, P.L. 1199 (53 P.S. 4805.13) provides: 'All property within the county now or hereinafter made taxable by law shall be valued and assessed by the assessors and by the

[ 366 Pa. Page 280]

Board at the actual value thereof.' (Italics supplied.) 'Actual value' as used in the foregoing section has been defined as nothing more or less than market value: Hudson Coal Company's Appeal, 327 Pa. 247, 251; Vollmer et al. v. Philadelphia, 350 Pa. 223, 227, 228. The same cases have defined market value as the price which a willing purchaser would pay for the property, ...


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