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Boulevard Mall owner drops challenge to assessment

The owner of the Boulevard Mall has dropped its legal fight against the Town of Amherst to slash the shopping mall’s assessment by 90 percent.

Cleveland-based Forest City had filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court last summer under the name Boulevard Mall SPE LLC, arguing the assessments on the four parcels that make up the bulk of the mall property were far too high.

The assessed value at the time of the July 2016 challenge was $39.62 million, or $43.54 million at full-market value. That figure does not include the Macy's and JCPenney stores, which are owned by the companies themselves, and a third parcel. The full-market assessed value for all seven parcels was $64.5 million.

Forest City sought an assessment reduction to 10 percent of the mall's value, or $3.96 million. "The law requires us to put that in there to protect our client's rights," said Raymond J. Furey, an attorney with Cronin & Cronin on Long Island who represented Forest City.

The Town of Amherst, Sweet Home Central School District and Erie County fought the challenge.

Forest City in May agreed to discontinue the lawsuit. The company also opted not to file a grievance challenging the mall's new assessment calculated following the recent townwide revaluation.

The mall's full-market value assessment, again not including Macy's and JCPenney, fell slightly for 2017 to $43.52 million. Forest City can't file a new lawsuit challenging its assessment for the 2017 tax year because it did not file a grievance this spring, Town Assessor David Marrano said.

Furey said the mall's owners were being "good citizens" in dropping the legal challenge.

Forest City set a value of $65.6 million on the mall in a recent filing with federal regulators. Trepp LLC, a commercial mortgage data real estate firm, reported last week that the appraised value of the mall fell 60 percent to $54.9 million, according to July remittance data.

Forest City defaulted on a $92 million loan payment it was required to make in early February. LNR Partners, the Miami-based special servicer that is handling the loan, is in negotiations with Forest City over a payment plan, and operations at the mall are continuing as usual.

Fate of Boulevard Mall unknown as loan repayment deadline looms

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