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City, EB reach deal in tax assessment disputes

By Johanna Somers

Publication: The Day

Published August 23. 2013 4:00AM
Undisclosed settlement to resolve shipbuilder's lawsuits over value of former Pfizer buildings

New London - Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said Thursday that the city and Electric Boat have reached a settlement "in theory" over the disputed appraisal of the office complex owned by the submarine builder.

In 2011, Electric Boat filed five lawsuits in New London Superior Court contesting the appraised value of the former Pfizer property that Electric Boat purchased in 2010 for $55 million.

"The attorneys are still ironing out the details of implementing it and the attorneys are set to meet next Wednesday to discuss the settlement with the court," Finizio said. "I am hopeful that a final settlement will be reached shortly, and when it is, the full details will be made public. But because it is still pending litigation, I can't comment further at this time."

The properties, formerly Pfizer's Global Research and Development office complex and four smaller parcels surrounding it, were appraised at about $222 million, which is 70 percent of the fair market value. Pfizer spent about $300 million to build the complex 10 years ago.

In 2011, General Dynamics President John P. Casey said the company was appealing the assessment because of the large difference in the price Electric Boat paid and the assessment.

The city's attorney, Thomas Londregan, said the taxes are based on fair market value, not the purchase price.

If the assessment remained at $222 million, Electric Boat's tax bill, without any exemptions or abatements, would be about $5.6 million.

When Pfizer owned the property, it did not appeal the assessments in 2008, 2009 or 2010, Londregan said. To reduce the assessment, EB would have to prove in court that the properties in 2008 were worth less than the city's appraisals.

Attorneys for the city and for EB did not return calls Thursday.



Pfizer property in New London

50 Pequot Ave., main campus: 24.41 acres, appraised at $309,228,500, assessed at $216,459,950.

81 Pequot Ave., day care center: 2.94 acres, appraised at $5,418,500, assessed at $3,792,950.

20 Nameaug St., visitors' center: 2 acres, appraised at $1,070,200, assessed at $749,140.

21 Pequot Ave., vacant land: 0.71 acres, appraised at $307,400, assessed at $215,180.

Powder Island: 0.75 acres, appraised at $253,500; assessed at $177,450.

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