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Tax Bill Reduced on Undeveloped Irvine Co. Land

April 18, 1993|LESLIE BERKMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEWPORT BEACH — Orange County has agreed to reduce the value of 41,000 undeveloped acres of Irvine Co. land by 40%, thus cutting the giant land developer's annual property tax bill by $2.5 million, a company spokeswoman said Saturday.

Dawn McCormick, the spokeswoman, said the county's Assessment Appeals Board lowered the assessed value of the undeveloped acreage by $148 million, which she said was only slightly less than the $150-million break that the Newport Beach firm had requested.

McCormick said the county's action reflects the general decline in real estate values that has occurred in the county since Donald Bren bought the Irvine Co. for $1 billion in 1983.

Although the ruling will effect about two-thirds of the land owned by the Irvine Co., it will not have any impact on 22,000 acres of land the company owns that is developed with hotels, shopping centers and office and industrial parks.

"We believe the board acted responsibly and fairly to place an assessment on our land that reflects reality, and we believe we have been overtaxed for some time," McCormick said.

The Irvine Co. is still the county's largest private landowner and leading payer of property taxes, with a remaining annual property tax bill of $41.5 million.

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