CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After a seven-hour hearing on Tuesday, the Kanawha County Assessor’s Office and the owner of the Charleston Town Center mall reached an agreement on the shopping center’s value.
The Kanawha County Commission heard from the Assessor’s Office and Hull Property Group regarding differences with what the mall should be worth. The Assessor’s Office placed the original value at $51 million, while Hull Property Group agreed the value was around $10 million.
Both sides agreed on a $21.5 million value.
“It really came down to the fair market value of this particular mall based upon new market conditions, issues of the pandemic, loss of revenue,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper. “There’s some argument that there’s some obsolescence of the mall as far as parts of it.”
The commission is responsible for approving the assessor’s value during hearings. Carper said how the county assesses properties is important for attracting and keeping businesses.
“Is this a welcoming business community to try to keep business owners here and have a fair treatment of taxpayers?” he said. “On the other hand, if I have to pay taxes, I want my money not wasted, and I also want to make sure that the other person is paying their fair share.”
Hull Property Group, which operates out of Augusta, Georgia, purchased the mall in May. The shopping center is the first West Virginia location for the company. Owner Jim Hull told the commission that the values of malls are continuing to decline.
“Right now, malls all over America are hurt by the changing shopping patterns and what people want,” he said. “They’ve got to transform themselves, which they will do.”
Hull stressed he is optimistic about the Town Center’s future. Carper told MetroNews affiliate WCHS-AM he shares the feeling.
“I hope the property owner, the Hull Group, does exactly what they say they are going to do. They say they are an operator, not just in to disassemble the building, so we’ll see,” he said.