Cresa hosts town hall meeting with new Cook County Assessor

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Last month, more than 50 clients, developers, landlords and friends of the firm, joined Cresa Global Inc. at a town hall meeting with new Cook County Assessor, Fritz Kaegi. The event was held at 1 North Dearborn’s rooftop conference center.

“This was a terrific opportunity for us to introduce our clients and friends of the firm to the new assessor in an informal setting,” said Cresa principal and investment banking team lead, Mike Duncan.“Knowledge and information always lead to better business decisions. Any time we can provide those things it’s a win-win.”

Kaegi is on a mission to change the way the assessment of real property is handled and so the candid conversation focused on transparency and consistency—two things he wants to bring to the office as he seeks to streamline the assessment process.

“The complexity in the process serves the interest of the few, not the community,” said Kaegi. “Education is key—I want everyone to know how the system works and how it should work.”

Using a more accurate approach to real estate assessments, Kaegi plans to eliminate variations in evaluations for like properties within communities. The proposed new system will use market capitalization rates to value properties via geospatial and income/expense information to determine what is appropriate. Assessed values will be more in line with current valuations.

At one point during the question and answer session, Kaegi turned the tables on the audience, asking how many of them could name the assessor in New York City. When no one raised a hand, his point was made.

“We shouldn’t need to know who the assessor is,” said Kaegi. “The work of the office should be consistent and stand on its own.”

With real estate taxes up 20 to 30 percent in Chicago’s central business district in the last three years, predicting taxes today has become more of an art than a science. The impact on site selection is significant.

“We pride ourselves on providing our clients with accurate, real-time market intelligence, but taxes continue to be a moving target,” said Cresa managing principal Allen Rogoway. “There will no doubt be some pain refining the old system, but we look forward to the day when we can provide our clients with accurate tax information.”