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Property Developer with a Valuation Issue

We acted for a large property developer concerning a development site in Cremorne. Several Principals and Principal Lawyers were involved in the matter, along with other members of our property, litigation, and insolvency teams.

During the past few years, we have initiated several applications in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) relating to the review of the Valuation Authority’s assessment of site value assessed for land tax assessments and public open space contribution under the Valuation of Land Act 1960.

In this instance, we contended that the site value assessed by the Valuation Authority was significantly too high. To support our client’s application for a review of the Valuation Authority’s decision, we briefed several experts (including valuers and independent cost assessors on the construction costs) to support our client’s contention. We attended several practice day hearings and compulsory conferences on behalf of our client before the matter was set down for hearing.

We submitted expert valuation and costing evidence together with lay witness statements in support of our client’s contention that the returned valuation of the Authority was too high. In the lead-up to the hearing and after protracted negotiations, we settled the matter based on a site valuation of approximately $10 million less than the site value contended by the Authority. This resulted in a substantial land tax refund owed to our client by the State Revenue Office.

The following year, we initiated a further application in VCAT concerning the site value of the Cremorne site for the developer’s substantial public open space contribution. The developer went into receivership with external receivers and managers appointed during our engagement.

We were faced with a security for costs application by the Valuation Authority, and we successfully negotiated an outcome to that application with the assistance of our insolvency team. With the Receiver taking over the matter, our client’s needs shifted. We retained instructions to continue prosecuting the matter on behalf of the Receiver.

We submitted expert valuation and costing evidence and lay witness statements in preparation for the hearing to support our client’s contention that the Authority’s returned valuation for assessing the public open space contribution was too high. During negotiations, the Valuation Authority, in effect, accepted our client’s evidence and contended site valuation, resulting in a refund of the public space contribution of nearly $900,000 payable to the Receiver together with a contribution towards our client’s costs.

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