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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Developers Fight Tall Condo Tax

Roughly two weeks ago, the city of Seattle released news of a plan to Tax condos for "Affordable Housing". Today news breaks of the developers firing back:

Downtown Seattle condominium developers punched holes Wednesday in a City Council-sponsored study suggesting that they could pay more for affordable housing and still reap big profits from taller buildings.

The developers said the study undervalued land and construction costs by millions of dollars and assumed that developers could get more favorable financing arrangements, which together radically overstated their profits.

The study compared proposals to charge some developers more for affordable housing and require costlier "green" buildings, in exchange for allowing them to build taller skyscrapers in parts of downtown and the Denny Triangle.

When more realistic numbers are used, condo developers said, the annual return they could expect under some proposed changes drops to 15 percent or lower, not the 30 percent to 40 percent claimed previously.
Of course, given that they're obviously going to be opposed to anything that trims their profit margins even in the slightest, take their figures with a grain of salt. Much like the whole excise tax battle, both sides have an ax to grind, and the truth is somewhere in between.

(Jennifer Langston, Seattle P-I, 01.26.2006)

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