News - September 15, 2010

Sun Micro campus reassessment coming

• Any property tax revenue increase would go to the Menlo Park redevelopment agency.

by Sandy Brundage

Menlo Park residents often have more questions than answers, but at least one question can now be put to rest: the San Mateo County Assessor's Office confirmed that Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems qualifies the campus at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway in Menlo Park for a reassessment of its property value.

The State Board of Equalization recently made the ruling, said Terry Flinn, special assistant to the assessor. Oracle bought Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion in January.

Reassessment of the campus, now assessed at $355.4 million, could boost or decrease property tax revenues for Menlo Park.

However, any increase wouldn't replenish the city's general fund. Mayor Rich Cline said that since the campus lies within redevelopment agency boundaries, any increased property tax would funnel back into redevelopment projects — and not the general fund.

Mr. Flinn said that due to the property's size and complexity, the appraisers may not finish the reassessment before June 2011.

"Commercial properties are pretty distressed these days," Mr. Flinn said, agreeing that the recession has eaten away at the property's value during the past two to three years.

The sprawling 2.5-million-square-foot campus joins a list of approximately 13,000 properties in the county being reassessed, Mr. Flinn said.

Oracle declined to comment.

"In downtimes we get more decline in value requests. It's more complicated when the market's down. Taxes are one of highest operating costs owners have besides mortgage, so they start taking a closer look," Mr. Flinn explained.

The previous owner, Sun Micro, was one of Menlo Park's top sales tax revenue producers.


Posted by another question, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 17, 2010 at 7:58 am

So if the extra tax revenue goes into the redevelopment area fund, what is the city going to do with it? Belle Haven seems pretty well "redeveloped." Are there other areas of the redevelopment district in need of projects waiting for money?

Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

I think you're (another question) more likely to see a reduction in the assessed value of the property, not an increase. Thus rather than pondering where one might spend some extra tax revenue, the City should be (likely is) developing a contingency plan to trim spending due to a shortfall in earlier revenue projections.

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