Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Heartland Park Topeka Owner Appeals Property Value

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Heartland Park Topeka Owner Appeals Property Value

Article excerpt

Chris Payne, owner of Heartland Park Topeka, has appealed the county's appraisal of the embattled racetrack.

When the Shawnee County Appraiser's Office evaluated the land in September for the 2016 tax year -- the first major evaluation in decades -- staff found the value was $8,944,330. That number is far from a fair value, according to Wesley Carrillo, Payne's attorney.

"We don't think the county's appraisal accurately reflects the true value of the park," he said

The appeal argued that the county's appraisal didn't consider a number of conditions that make Heartland Park unique, Carillo said. The land, which comprises several parcels, is basically a single- use property, he said. He added it is a high-maintenance property and would attract a limited interest from future buyers.

Though the property is capable of hosting races, and is scheduled to host several this summer, Carrillo said parts of the park are in disrepair, and Payne would like to invest a significant amount during the coming years to improve the park. Payne filed the appeal Friday. Carrillo said they hope to meet with appraisers in the coming month.

Payne's company, Shelby LLC, would be expected to pay about $341,870 in taxes, based on last year's levy. The county would see revenues from property taxes at just over $101,000, and the city would see $83,402. The rest would be divided between other taxing agencies.

The roughly 478 acres of properties associated with Heartland Park, 7530 S.W. Topeka Blvd., were exempt from property taxes until CoreFirst Bank and Trust filed deeds for the properties in August. Payne, a Kansas City-area real estate developer, announced in December that he and business partner Todd Crossley would take control of the track from CoreFirst. Shortly after that announcement, the NHRA announced it had put Heartland Park back on its national schedule for 2016.

The September evaluation was one of the first significant property value inspections of the park in more than 20 years because the property, which opened in 1989, has been exempt from taxes since at least 1993. …

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