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Firm sues Woonsocket over assessment

June 17, 2014

WOONSOCKET – The Bryn Mawr, Pa. company that owns the largest shopping plaza in the city has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court, challenging the city’s $12.7 million assessment of the property.
WP Associates LLC, the owner of Diamond Hill Plaza, says the assessment should be reduced by more than 75 percent so the savings can be passed along in the form of lower rent to its leading anchor, Burlington Coat Factory.
“They’ve already indicated to the owner that they are considering exercising their right to vacate because their sales levels have dropped so much,” Mark Murphy, a lawyer for WP Associates, said. “At this point we don’t know what Burlington Coat Factory is going to do.”
Murphy’s comments came during a recent appellate hearing in City Hall before a municipal body that has the power to lower the city’s assessment of the 386,000-square-foot shopping center, which spans some 24 acres on Diamond Hill Road.
The Board of Assessment Review denied the appeal on May 6, paving the way for the lawsuit to be filed several days ago. No hearings are currently scheduled.
“The city will be filing the appropriate answer and is going to be defending the valuation of the property,” said City Solicitor Michael Marcello.
Murphy told officials Burlington has already satisfied all the legal obligations required by its landlord to vacate the property at any time. The discount clothier previously provided WP Associates LLP with 180 days advance notice of the possible termination of its lease as early as this spring.
Read the complete story in Wednesday's newspaper.

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