The Excelsior Hotel is a valuable asset the Provo area could lose unless Utah County lowers the hotel's assessed valuation so taxes can in turn be reduced, says one of the hotel's current owners.
Bob Schwartz, one of four general partners involved in selling the hotel to businessman Victor Borcherds, told commissioners they would be perpetuating an injustice if they don't lower taxes."I believe an injustice has been performed here," he said. "I believe it should not go on. It should be adjusted."
Of three hotel appraisals, the highest set its value at $5 million. Borcherds, the owner of the planned Heritage Mountain Resort who has made a $3.5 million down payment on the hotel, has offered $5.5 million.
"How, then, can the county justify an $11 million value? That's my argument," Schwartz said. He added, however, that the hotel couldn't be duplicated for less than $20 million.
Schwartz said the county's economic situation has made it difficult for the hotel to turn a profit, and he urged the county to give the new owner a chance to make the Excelsior successful.
Commissioners said they will review the hotel's assessed valuation and ask county attorneys for a legal opinion. Final sale of the hotel is set for Nov. 21.
"We'll try as fast as we can to get it done by then," Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck said.
Property taxes due on the hotel - about $850,000 - have not been paid since the Excelsior opened five years ago.
Originally, Borcherds planned to build a hotel at the base of Heritage Mountain, east of Provo. But he decided to buy the Excelsior instead.