The Robert A. Brady Building's Weirdly Low Tax Assessment

(The Robert A. Brady Office Building | Image: Google Streetview)

Social media mentions of the Robert A. Brady Office Building at 219-27 Spring Garden Street, in reference to the 175th District ward leaders meeting, prompted a tipster to look up the Atlas listing for the Brady building, and wouldn't you know—it's got a weird assessment issue.

We've been writing about how the Office of Property Assessment is still getting land assessments wrong, with properties on the same block frequently having different land values on a square foot basis compared to their neighbors. 

The 200 block of Spring Garden is a good example of this, with the Robert A. Brady Building (219-27 Spring Garden) having a curiously lower land assessment per square foot than many of its neighbors.

A review of all the properties on Spring Garden Street between the 100 block and the 400 block shows the average land value per square foot is in the $35 range, while the Brady Building's land assessment is only $15 a square foot. And for the lots closest in size to the Brady Building's lot, the average is a little over $60 a square foot—much higher than $15.

What's even weirder is that, according to OPA data, the Brady Building somehow saw its land value drop between 2017 and 2019, going from $310,000 in 2017 down to $126,660 in 2018, and then slightly back up to $130,450 in 2019. You read that right: $130,450 in land value for an almost 9,000 square foot lot in Northern Liberties—an area of the city with some of the highest, and fastest-growing, land prices.

To point out the obvious, land prices on Spring Garden Street did not drop between 2017 and 2019. Enough weird land assessments exist out there that we don't necessarily want to suggest a political conspiracy is at work to lower Democratic City Committee's tax liability. At the very least though, they're benefitting from the City's bizarre land assessment methodology which continues to produce wacky and inconsistent numbers, so a spot-check from OPA is in order.

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