Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, Dec. T., 1961, No. 20, in the matter of appeal of Pennsylvania's Northern Lights Shoppers City, Inc. from assessment of Beaver County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes.
Eugene A. Caputo, for appellant.
Oran W. Panner, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Bell.
Pennsylvania's Northern Lights Shoppers City, Inc.*fn* was the owner of approximately 50 acres of land on which was erected a regional shopping center consisting of 70 commercial stores, located in three building units. Northern's property is situate in the Borough of Economy, Beaver County, and is the only shopping center in that County.
The Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Beaver County*fn** fixed the market value of Northern's property for 1961 at $4,667,980 and the assessed value at 30 percent of market value or $1,400,394. On appeal by Northern, the lower Court, in an exhaustive Opinion, fixed the actual fair market value of Northern's property at $3,976,654, and the assessed value for tax purposes at $1,192,996. From the final Order which dismissed exceptions filed by both Northern and the Board, the Board took this appeal.
The assessment fixed by the Board for the year 1961 represents a 40% increase over the tax assessment of the property which was fixed by the Court for the years 1959 and 1960. Between 1959 and 1961 no other buildings were erected, nor were any improvements made on Northern's property. Moreover, since the 1959 assessment, a valuable tract of Northern's property was sold by it and (of course) there were two years of further depreciation in the existing buildings.
Northern produced three expert witnesses. One testified that the market value of the property was $3,360,000, another $3,365,460, and Northern's third witness $3,525,216.
The Board, in order to overcome this testimony and support its assessment, produced three expert witnesses.
One witness testified that the market value of the property was $4,667,980, another $4,800,000, and the Board's third witness, $4,965,000. The lower Court, as above noted, fixed the market value of the property at $3,976,654.
All of the six experts, whether testifying for the Board or for Northern, agreed that the capitalization of net income is, overall, the most scientific and the most accurate method for finding the actual (fair) market value ...