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Rare Air Limited, LLC v. Property Tax Administrator

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Second Division

August 29, 2019

Rare Air Limited, LLC, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Property Tax Administrator, Respondent-Appellee, and Board of Assessment Appeals, Appellee.

          Prior Opinion Announced July 18, 2019, WITHDRAWN

         OPINION PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED AS "NOT PUBLISHED PURSUANT TO C.A.R. 35(e)" ON JULY 18, 2019, IS NOW DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION

          Board of Assessment Appeals Case No. 69880

          Kutak Rock LLP, Kenneth K. Skogg, Dana B. Baggs, Denver, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellant

          Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General, Robert H. Dodd, First Assistant Attorney General, Allison Robinette, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellee

          Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General, Evan P. Brennan, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Appellee

          Kristin M. Bronson, City Attorney, Charles Solomon, Assistant City Attorney, Noah Cecil, Assistant City Attorney, Denver, Colorado, for Amicus Curiae City and County of Denver

          OPINION

          TERRY, JUDGE

         ¶ 1 In this property tax case, taxpayer, Rare Air Limited, LLC (Rare Air), appeals the order of the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) upholding the 2015 tax assessment on its property. We affirm.

         I. Background

         ¶ 2 This appeal arises out of a dispute over a property tax assessment made on an aircraft hangar facility located at Centennial Airport.

         ¶ 3 Centennial Airport, located in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, Colorado, is owned by the Arapahoe County Airport Authority (Authority), which is tax-exempt as a political subdivision of the State of Colorado. The Authority holds title to land in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.

         ¶ 4 In 2006, the Authority leased approximately seventy acres of airport land in Douglas County, at a rate of five cents per square foot, to Denver jetCenter (DJC) pursuant to a Master Lease. The initial term of the Master Lease is forty years with optional extensions of another fifty years.

         ¶ 5 Under the terms of the Master Lease, DJC is required to construct, or contract for the construction of, certain improvements on the leased land. Those improvements include an aircraft hangar facility to provide specified aviation-related services. The Master Lease further provides that DJC may enter into a sublease, with the Authority's approval, to provide some of the required improvements and services.

         ¶ 6 DJC entered into a sublease (Ground Lease) in 2011 with Rare Air to satisfy its obligation to construct the hangar facility. The Ground Lease covers about three acres out of the seventy acres DJC leases from the Authority under the Master Lease. The Ground Lease includes only land, requires rent payments of thirty-five cents per square foot, and has a base term of twenty-five years with an option to extend for an additional five years. If the lease is extended the rent will be adjusted to include the land and any improvements.

         ¶ 7 The Ground Lease obligates Rare Air to construct improvements consisting of a building containing an aircraft hangar, storage, and office space with a minimum area of 25, 000 square feet. The Ground Lease provides that Rare Air will be deemed to own, and will hold title to, all improvements made by Rare Air, until the expiration of the lease, at which ...


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