866 P.2d 149 (Ariz.Tax 1993), TX 92-00865, Biltmore Hotel Partners v. Maricopa County

Docket Nº:TX 92-00865.
Citation:866 P.2d 149, 177 Ariz. 167
Party Name:BILTMORE HOTEL PARTNERS v. MARICOPA COUNTY; Arizona Department of Revenue.
Case Date:December 09, 1993
Court:Tax Court of Arizona

Page 149

866 P.2d 149 (Ariz.Tax 1993)

177 Ariz. 167



MARICOPA COUNTY; Arizona Department of Revenue.

No. TX 92-00865.

Tax Court of Arizona.

December 9, 1993

Page 150

[177 Ariz. 168] John E. Wolfinger, Phoenix, for plaintiff.

Helm & Kyle by Roberta S. Livesay and Ileen K. Keenan, Phoenix, for defendant.



The issue in this case is whether the 1992 valuation of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel property is too high--or too low.

The Biltmore is a quality, full-service, luxury resort hotel opened in 1929. It has 502 rooms, a 38,000k square foot conference center, three heated swimming pools, eight lighted tennis courts, a health & fitness center, retail shops and boutiques, three restaurants and two lounges, and is adjacent to two PGA-rated championship golf courses. From 1959 through 1990 it received a five-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide.

In mid-1991 the Biltmore underwent approximately $7,000,000 worth of renovations to its main lobby, restaurants and outdoor recreation facilities. Another $20,000,000 will be spent in the next three years to renovate the guest rooms and other facilities to return it to its previous five-star condition.

In June of 1992 Biltmore Hotel Partners (Partners) purchased the Biltmore for $61.5 million. The Partners' marketing plan anticipated an occupancy level of 63.46-68.20% and an average daily room rate (ADR) of between $162.76 and $186.37 for 1992, 1993 and 1994. 1

For the tax year 1992, Maricopa County set the full cash value of the Biltmore, as of January 1, 1992, at $48,146,291. After the Partners purchased the property in June of 1992 they filed an appeal with this Court contesting the County's 1992 valuation. Trial to the Court was held in September of 1993.

The Partners contend that the County's full cash value of $48k million is excessive and should be lowered to $37,078,160. The County argues $48k is too low and should be raised to $61.5 million.


When a valuation is appealed to the Tax Court, there is a presumption that the government's valuation is correct and lawful. A.R.S. § 42-178(B). The presumption is one of fact and may be overcome by competent evidence. Department of Property Valuation v. Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc., 113 Ariz. 68, 70, 546 P.2d 804, 806 (1976). In order to overcome the presumption, a taxpayer must present sufficient " 'evidence contradicting the presumption ... from which the trial court can determine the full cash value of the property in question.' " Department of Property Valuation v. Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc., supra, 113 Ariz. at 69 and 70, 546 P.2d at 805 and 806 (quoting Graham County v. Graham County Electric Coop., Inc., 109 Ariz. 468, 512 P.2d 11...

To continue reading