Apr 3, 2023 - Development

Local malls are worth less than they used to be, according to Mecklenburg County

Belk SouthPark (Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios)

Local malls saw their property values fall in the latest revaluation at a time when homeowners are facing steep increases.

What’s happening: SouthPark, Northlake and Carolina Place malls are all worth less than they were in 2019, according to new property values that came out in March.

  • The main parcel on SouthPark Mall’s property fell from $323.3 million in 2019 to $273.9 million in 2023, a 15% decrease.
  • Northlake Mall’s value dropped from $149.5 million to $133.6 million, a 10.6% decline.
  • Carolina Place is worth $156.9 million, a 3.8% drop from $163 million.

The big picture: Residential values increased by an average of 58% on average, and commercial values went up 41%.

Why it matters: Malls, even a local one that’s filled with luxury retailers, and local country clubs saw their valuations decline, per county data. But homeowners, many who can least afford it, in the the city’s rapidly-changing “crescent” north, west and east of Uptown are seeing the steepest increases in their tax values.

  • This means homeowners will be paying an increasing share of taxes in Mecklenburg County.
  • “When you look at the statutes and the purpose of the reval, it is a point-in-time relook and redistribution of the tax base,” Mecklenburg County assessor Ken Joyner tells Axios. “And I think what you end up (with) is that markets change.”
Map: Mecklenburg County

What they’re saying: Unlike residential homes, there aren’t enough comparable sales for malls to base their values on, Joyner says. The county hired an outside appraiser to conduct a commercial data study.

A mall’s value is determined by income, he says, including the rents and vacancy.

  • He says vacancy rates have increased at malls, and there’s likely been little growth in rents collected.

Zoom in: Northlake Mall, for instance, has a tenant occupancy rate of around 74%, which is below the national average, the Observer reported in February.

Media representatives for Northlake and Carolina Place did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for SouthPark Mall did not provide a response by Axios’ deadline.

Yes, but: Not all area malls are struggling. In recent years, SouthPark mall has attracted high-end retailers such as Gucci and jewelers like Blue Nile.

  • Plus, the mall’s owner, Simon Property Group, is investing millions into redeveloping its West Plaza with a new Suffolk Punch Brewery and open-air pavilion, among other amenities.
  • “Even though SouthPark has been able to weather some of the retail issues that our other malls have not been able to weather, I still think that that changing landscape has affected their ability to be as profitable as maybe they were at one time,” Joyner says.

Of note: Axios looked at the values of the main parcels on each of the mall sites, but there are other parcels on their properties too. The parcel Belk owns at SouthPark that includes its store, for instance, increased in value from $19.6 million in 2019 to $25.5 million.

  • The assessor’s office noted in an email that the 2019 value was only lowered to $19.6 million after Belk appealed to the state. It was initially valued at $51 million, then lowered to nearly $30 million after Belk informally appealed to the county.

What’s next: All of the malls appealed to the state and/or county in 2019 and successfully reduced their property values. It’s likely they’ll attempt the same this time.

  • Homeowners can appeal their property values too, and you don’t need an attorney. Here’s how.

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