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701 LIBERTY AVENUE REALTY CO. (12/13/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: December 13, 1982.

IN RE: 701 LIBERTY AVENUE REALTY CO., ETC. BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW, APPELLANT. IN RE: APPEAL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH ETC. BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW, APPELLANT. IN RE: 701 LIBERTY AVENUE REALTY CO., ETC. 701 LIBERTY AVENUE REALTY CO., APPELLANT. IN RE: APPEAL OF THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH ETC. 701 LIBERTY AVENUE REALTY CO., APPELLANT

Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of In Re: 701 Liberty Avenue Realty Co., from assessment of the Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, No. GD80-27182, and in the case of In Re: Appeal of the City of Pittsburgh from the action of the Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County in regard to property situate in the Second Ward of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, No. GD80-30207.

COUNSEL

John M. Silvestri, for appellant, Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review.

Ronald S. Lombard, with him Michael Hahalyak, D. R. Pellegrini and William P. Bresnahan, for appellee, 701 Liberty Avenue Realty Co., etc.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 378]

The Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County and 701 Liberty Avenue Realty Company have each brought separate appeals from a consolidated order of the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County.

This case originates from the board's revision of the tax assessment of an office building property, the Clark Building, for the years 1979 and 1980.

The City of Pittsburgh, as taxing body, and the property owner (701 Liberty Avenue Realty Co.) each appealed from the board's assessment to the common pleas court. Judge Barry heard the two appeals at a consolidated hearing and held the fair market value of the property to be $2,000,000 for 1979, $2,500,000 for

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 3791980]

and $3,000,000 for 1981,*fn1 the determinations from which these two appeals come.*fn2

The board,*fn3 as appellant, asks that we raise the amount of the assessed values, based on expert testimony that the price paid for the Clark Building by the property owner at a sheriff's sale was below the actual fair market value of the building at that time.

The property owner asks that we reduce the amount of the assessed values, based on expert testimony that the price paid was the fair market value and that its alleged relative low cost reflected the state of disrepair of the building and the disreputable neighborhood location.

Judge Barry heard and ably resolved these credibility issues*fn4 as matters of fact. The trial court is the

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 380]

    factfinder, particularly as to credibility; we are not. Our limited scope of review is only to reverse the trial court when parties have shown it to have been "clearly in error."*fn5 Neither party has shown clear error on the part of the trial court, whose findings are well-founded upon expert testimony evaluating the building in comparison with other downtown buildings, the building's location, and its condition.

Therefore, we must affirm the order of the common pleas court.

Order

Now, December 13, 1982, we affirm the orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in Civil Action Nos. G.D. 80-27182 and G.D. 80-30207.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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