September 30, 1997
Appeal from the Supreme Court, Erie County, Flaherty, J.
Present — Green, J.P., Pine, Wisner, Balio and Fallon, JJ.
Petitioner commenced these consolidated proceedings pursuant to article 7 of the Real Property Tax Law challenging as excessive respondents' assessments of its property for the 1992 through 1994 tax years. The subject property is an industrial complex consisting of 15 buildings on a 12-acre site adjacent to the Niagara River in the Town of Tonawanda. From the time the complex was constructed in the mid-1920s, it has been used as a chemical manufacturing plant. At trial petitioner presented a market approach appraisal utilizing sales of seven industrial facilities in western New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Relying upon that appraisal, Supreme Court granted the petitions and reduced the assessments to values falling roughly midway between the calculations of petitioner's appraiser and respondents' assessments.
We reverse. "Tax assessments are presumptively valid ( see, Farash v. Smith, 59 N.Y.2d 952, 955; Matter of City of Troy v Kusala, 227 A.D.2d 736, lv denied 89 N.Y.2d 801; Matter of Welch Foods v. Town of Portland, 187 A.D.2d 948), and petitioner bore the burden of establishing by substantial evidence that its property was overvalued ( see, Matter of Barnum v. Srogi, 54 N.Y.2d 896, 899; Matter of City of Troy v. Kusala, supra)" (Matter of Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. v. Assessor of Town of Geddes, 239 A.D.2d 911). We conclude that petitioner failed to meet that burden. Generally, in "computing the market value of large industrial complexes, the market value method of valuation is preferred as the most reliable measure of a property's full value for assessment purposes ( see, RPTL 305; Grant Co. v. Srogi, 62 N.Y.2d 496, 510; G.R.F., Inc. v. Board of Assessors, 41 N.Y.2d 512, 513), and where, as here, evidence of a recent sale price is lacking, market value may be determined with reference to recent sales of comparable properties ( Matter of Merrick Holding Corp. v. Board of Assessors, 45 N.Y.2d 538; Matter of Great Atl. Pac. Tea Co. v. Kiernan, 42 N.Y.2d 236)" ( Matter of General Elec. Co. v. Town of Salina, 69 N.Y.2d 730, 731). In our view, petitioner's appraiser failed to account adequately for the unique features of the subject property in his selection and analysis of comparable sales ( see, Matter of Blue Circle v Schermerhorn, 235 A.D.2d 771; Matter of City of Troy v. Kusala, supra, at 739-740; Matter of Slant/Fin Corp. v. Board of Assessors, 186 A.D.2d 810, 811; Matter of General Motors Corp. Cent. Foundry Div. v. Assessor of Town of Massena, 146 A.D.2d 851, 852, lv denied 74 N.Y.2d 604). As a result, petitioner failed to establish that the properties analyzed as comparable in its appraisal are sufficiently similar to the subject property to yield an accurate assessment of its value ( see, Matter of City of Troy v. Kusala, supra; Matter of Slant/Fin Corp. v. Board of Assessors, supra, at 811).
Petitioner's alternative appraisal, based upon the cost approach, also fails to yield "a fair and realistic value of the property involved" ( Matter of Allied Corp. v. Town of Camillus, 80 N.Y.2d 351, 356, rearg denied 81 N.Y.2d 784) because it does not include the entire complex in the calculation of reproduction costs ( see, Matter of City of New York [Salvation Army], 43 N.Y.2d 512, 516; Matter of Blue Circle v. Schermerhorn, supra) and does not account adequately for the calculation of depreciation ( see, Matter of Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. v. Assessor of Town of Geddes, supra).
Because petitioner failed to overcome the presumption that respondents' assessments were valid for the tax years at issue, the presumption remains, and there is no need to consider the adequacy of respondents' appraisal ( see, Matter of Fistraw-Del Holding Corp. v. Assessor for Town of Colonie, 235 A.D.2d 660). Further, in view of our decision, we do not address the parties' remaining contentions.