Dove Plaza, Slinger board settle 'dark store' dispute
Village to return about $21K in property taxes from two years

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

Sept. 18, 2019

 Dove Plaza in Slinger along Highway 60 is seen under cloudy skies on Sept. 4.
Joe VanDeLaarschot/Daily News Staff

SLINGER — Village officials and owners of Dove Plaza have agreed to a settlement in a property assessment dispute that’s been ongoing nearly two years.

As part of the settlement, the village agreed to a new property tax assessment for the strip mall, about $2.4 million, and agreed to pay back about $21,150 in property taxes from two years.

In 2017 Dove Plaza owner Suresh Misra began the legal dispute with the village. The village said the property was worth about $3.1 million, while Misra and his legal team tried to use the “dark store” argument when they claimed because the mall was largely vacant, it was worth much less — about $1.5 million. Misra is a family practice physician in Milwaukee. Dove Plaza is at 1054 E. Commerce Blvd. In early 2018 Misra attempted to convince the village’s Board of Review to reduce the tax assessment from about $3.1 million to about $1.5 million. The panel did not change the assessed value. In February 2018 the village then received a notice of claim from attorneys representing Misra and his business seeking the same reduction in the assessment and a refund from the village of about $25,100, plus interest, from the amount they feel was excessively paid to the village.

“The village will be out about 34 percent of that,” said Village Administrator Margaret Wilber. “We do go back to the other (taxing) jurisdictions and ask them to refund their portion.”

The claim by Dove Plaza was denied earlier at the Board of Review and they really had a lack of evidence to try to prove their point, said Village President and Board of Review member Russ Brandt in 2018.

Wilber said last week that the parties were close to an agreement. She also said that Dove Plaza’s case lost some of its steam after Dove Plaza had been for sale at a price higher than Misra had claimed in the dispute that the property was actually worth in his original opinion.

At the Board of Review meeting very early in the process, agent Gary Kohlenberg, working on behalf of Dove Plaza, said the building has not had full tenant capacity for some time and that only 53 percent of the building was being rented then. He stated that the owner has done everything to fill the vacancies.

According to the minutes from that meeting, Kohlenberg said Misra had hired several agencies to market the building, he had lowered the rent, and he also stated he felt if the owner were to sell the building he could not sell it for anywhere near the assessed value. He stated that the revenue/lack of revenue from tenants needs to be considered to determine the real value.

Wilber said the village attorney also reviewed the settlement proposal before the Village Board was asked to vote on it during Monday night’s closed session.

“He (Misra) had it on the market for well over he was originally claiming, but it’s been on market now for close to a year at this level, it’s still for sale and they have many vacancies so the market conditions justified reducing the amount,” Wilber said.