Guilderland Center plaza sold for $890K; assessment cut by 49%

GUILDERLAND — The owner of a 146-unit apartment complex in Guilderland Center recently unloaded the property’s retail space for $890,000, a move that comes on the heels of an Albany County court judge signing off on an agreement to cut the plaza’s assessed value in half. 

Morgan Guilderland Shopping Center LLC on June 25 sold the 15,554-square-foot Park Guilderland Shopping Center and its disputed acreage to K and K Guilderland LLC, a Niskayuna-based limited-liability company that formed a month earlier, according to Department of State filings. 

The Albany Business Review first reported the sale.

The new owner of the plaza is likely to see a reduced tax bill over the next few years, as Morgan Guilderland and the town came to an agreement on its assessed value. 

The plaza owner filed its first tax certiorari claim against the town of Guilderland in 2019 — and again in 2020 — arguing its $1.75 million assessed value was about 1.1-million dollars too many, and said the property should be assessed at $650,000.

To start, Guilderland’s appraisal of the parcel said the 2.41-acre property was not a 3.65-acre parcel. The discrepancy, according to the town, lay with the “assessor’s property card,” which said 3.65 acres, and the county tax maps, which show 2.41 acres. 

After some numbers were crunched, the town’s appraiser put the market value of the retail center at $1.15 million, while Morgan Guilderland Shopping Center’s appraiser concluded the plaza’s market value was about 60 percent of the town’s estimated value, $690,000.

An appraisal is an opinion of a property’s value as of a specific date. It’s based on facts, but it’s an opinion — in the case of Park Guilderland Shopping Center, the appraisal looked at the years 2016, 2017, and 2018. 

Justice Margaret Walsh OK’d an agreement between the town and property owner on June 23, which set the land’s assessed value for the tax years between 2019 and 2024 at $890,000.

That also meant the town cut a check for $3,100 in overpaid taxes for 2019 and 2020. The Guilderland Central School District will also have to refund Morgan for a single year of taxes, 2020. 

For tax year 2021, the shopping center paid about $13,200 in town and county taxes — with approximately $6,100 going to Albany County and the remaining $7,100 left for the town to be divided among eight different pots of money, such as the Guilderland Center Fire District, water-and-sewer operations, and the highway department, to name a few.

Guilderland schools received about $30,000 in taxes from the plaza in tax year 2021

In tax year 2020, the town, county, and school district taxes were all fairly similar to 2021. 

In the decade-or-so before townwide revaluation, Park Guilderland Shopping Center had an assessment of $531,500 and had town and county taxes that fluctuated between $6,000 and $10,000, often with payments falling somewhere in the middle. School tax payments between 2007 and 2018, started at about $10,600 and gradually worked up to nearly $13,000.  


Old and new 

Morgan purchased the Guilderland Center property in 2008 for $897,500. The deed on file with the Albany County Clerk’s Office shows the original sale included two parcels of land:

— The property where the plaza now sits; and

— An adjacent 3.4 acre parcel of land, which is sandwiched between the shopping center on one side and the Mynderse-Frederick House on the other.

It appears Morgan will continue to own the 3.4 acres under a separate LLC. 

The 15,554-square-foot building has seen quick turnover as of late in addition to losing out on promising, prospective tenants. In February, the Guilderland Planning Board OK’d a site plan for Bull & Basil Wood Fired Pizza, but the applicant never went back before the zoning board to have his special-use permit approved. 

The plaza was home to Good N Baked Bakery in 2018 and then not, a year later; it now houses Crowing Hen Coffee Company. I&I Tattoo opened amid the pandemic, in June of last year, while the Mixed Breed Brewing microbrewery opened this spring. But through all the tenant turnover there has been a two-decade-plus constant: Reddy’s Delicatessen and Grocery.

Park Guilderland Shopping Center’s new owner(s) appear to be connected to a number of area properties by a maze of limited-liability companies. 

In April, two other LLCs were incorporated using the same Niskayuna residential address associated with K and K Guilderland LLC, the new owner of the Guilderland Center property. Those LLCs also appear to be active — however, no deeds have yet to be filed with any local county clerks.

 The two individuals listed as owners of the Niskyuana residence associated with the LLC that now owns the Guilderland Center plaza, Muhammad Usman and Salman Khushnood, are listed in some online databases as the owners of Citgo Gas Stations in Schenectady and Watervliet (actually, Colonie, the station is located on the third-to-last parcel before the city line).

The Schenectady station is located on Albany Street, in the city’s Woodlawn neighborhood; however, land records show the property is owned by an LLC with the same address as the gas station, although the LLC’s full name may be familiar: K and K Schenectady. The second Citgo Station, on Broadway in Menands, is owned by a K and K Watervliet LLC .

Khushnood is also listed as the company officer in a certificate of incorporation for an LLC associated with a gas station and convenience store on 19th Street in Watervliet, which in other iterations and online databases lists another individual affiliated with another LLC incorporated in 2015 that began buying and selling homes at a rate of seven per year for four years in Albany County before it went dark in 2019, the last year with a sale deed on file with the county clerk’s office.

And just before the pandemic hit last year, in February 2020, an LLC registered at Tamar Drive in Niskayuna, at the same address as the new owners of the Guilderland Center plaza, scooped up a two-family property for $55,000 at  708 State St. in the city of Albany, in the Washington Square area, sandwiched between the primarily Black, poor, and intentionally-cut-off-from-the-of-city West Hill neighborhood and Pine Hills, which has been celebrated as a “slice of small town life in the center of Albany.”

On Google Street View, a Red “X” can be seen on the two-family home. The city places the sign on vacant buildings to warn its first responders that it considers the property unsafe for emergency personnel. 


Another lowered assessment

The Park Guilderland Shopping Center isn’t the only Morgan property receiving reduced assessment. 

During the April 6 Guilderland Town Board meeting, town Assessor Heather Weinhold explained for the board the settlement agreement the town had come to on Morgan’s 146-unit apartment complex, known as the Park Guilderland Apartments. 

The owners had appraised it for $9.4 million, while the town had said it was worth $9.98 million.

The property was “greatly under-assessed prior to the town-wide reassessment,” Weinhold said in April. “It’s a full-market value for 2018 was only”$3.7 million.

Park Guilderland Apartments tax year 2018 and 2019 assessed values, which is how the town gets its tax money, were about $2.9 million each year.

Full-market value is essentially what a potential buyer would be willing to pay for a property and what the owner would be willing to accept, ideally the highest number the owner can get.

Assessed value is often used to determine the taxes an owner owes on his or her property; it involves a formula, and generally the owner wants the assessed value to be as low as possible because it will help when the assessor applies the equalization rate, keeping property taxes as low as possible.

After revaluation, the apartment complex’s full-market value was $13.51 million, matching its 2020 assessed value. The town agreed to a revised assessment of $9.8 million for 2019 and 2020, while agreeing to $9.5 million for 2021, 2022, and 2023.

“So even though we are broaching the reduction that is on here, we’re still gaining over $6 million of taxable value,” Weinhold said.

The board also approved a refund of $13,439 in town property taxes for Morgan Guilderland at the April meeting.


More Guilderland News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.