NASHUA - The Radisson Hotel will receive three years of tax abatements from the City of Nashua after winning a civil suit claiming the city issued excessive and disproportionate assessments for the hotel.
On Monday, Judge Jacalyn Colburn in Hillsborough County Superior Court denied a reconsideration request by the city's attorneys. The suit was previously filed against the city by Radisson hotel owner AFP 105 Corp. and Southern New Hampshire Hospitality LLC.
Wesley Reeks, an assessing expert representing the Radisson Hotel, previously testified that the city's assessment of the property from 2009 to 2011, averaging between $9.6 million and $12.2 million, should have been closer to an assessed value of $4.9 million to $6.7 million, according to court documents on file at Hillsborough County Superior Court.
"After analyzing the evidence and considering the arguments, the court found that AFP had demonstrated lower fair-market property values by a preponderance of the evidence," Colburn said in her ruling. " ... after considering the evidence, the court found the fair-market value of the hotel to be $6,770,000 in 2009, $4,960,000 in 2010, and $5,810,000 in 2011."
The court has granted the hotel's request for tax abatements for those three years, although the exact amount that will be issued to the Radisson was not immediately available Tuesday. Based on the higher assessed values posted on the city's website, the Radisson paid about $320,000 in taxes in 2009, nearly $330,000 in property taxes in 2010, and about $336,000 in 2011. It is now entitled to tax abatements for those three years using the lower fair market value agreed upon by the court, according to the ruling.
"Contrary to the city's assertions, the court weighed all of the evidence in the record in reaching its decision, including the city's initial assessments," the ruling noted. It goes on to say that although the city was not required to put an expert on the stand, a competing expert would have been useful in discrediting Reeks' testimony, or at least would have provided the court with alternative valuations to consider.
"To the extent the city requests a new hearing to call its own expert to discredit the court's findings, that request is denied," wrote Colburn. "The city was afforded a full and fair opportunity to present its own witnesses at the hearing on Feb. 5 and chose not to. The court has limited resources and will not rehear a merits case simply because a party makes a strategic decision that ultimately does not result in a favorable decision."
Attorney Margaret Nelson of Sulloway and Hollis, who was representing the Radisson, was not available to comment Tuesday. The landmark hotel was sold at a foreclosure auction at the end of 2011 to Attilio Petrocelli, president and CEO of United Capital Corp. in New York, for $5.5 million.
At the time, Petrocelli described the winning bid as a "very modest price," announcing the hotel would receive upwards of $6 million in renovations as the new owners planned to revitalize the castle-like facility. The 336-room, seven-story hotel that was originally built in 1981 sits on 17 acres off Exit 1 of the F.E. Everette Turnpike.