Lodge Kohler seeks to lower assessment by $4.5 million
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – About three years after Lodge Kohler’s assessment was lowered by more than $11.8 million to the current $16.8 million after the company filed an objection with the village’s Board of Review, the hotel is now seeking another reduction of nearly $4.5 million.
The Board of Review agreed earlier this month to waive a hearing on the company’s latest objection, effectively denying it and allowing Lodge Kohler to begin the appeal process in circuit court, Village Attorney Tony Wachewicz said.
“(The waiver) essentially speeds up that process,” he said. “And also, it does allow them time to make a determination whether they want to pursue that route.”
State law requires an appeal to circuit court be commenced within 90 days of receiving notice of the hearing being waived.
Wachewicz said the board could have elected to hold the hearing and deny the objection, as well as provide the attorney representing the company the opportunity to offer input.
Kristina Somers of the Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren law firm, who is representing Lodge Kohler, did not attend the board’s Oct. 6 meeting in-person, but was available by phone had the board not granted the request for a waiver.
Assessor Paul Denor said Somers could seek an appeal with the board not changing the assessment, whether or not a hearing was conducted.
“Either way, she has the rights to go to circuit court, regardless,” he said.
Though Lodge Kohler, which is located across from Lambeau Field at 1950 S. Ridge Road, has a lifelong lease on the land owned by Titletown Development, the real estate arm of the Green Bay Packers, Denor said the lease would not affect this particular assessment appeal.
“The building is actually owned by Lodge Kohler, but the property is owned by the Packers,” he said.
According to a copy of the assessment objection obtained by The Press Times, the company claims the assessed value exceeds fair market value, and the assessment violates the uniformity clause of the Wisconsin Constitution.
Of the three possible methods allowed under state law for making an assessment – the market approach by comparing other properties, the cost approach related to what it costs to develop the property, or the income approach with the income potential of the property – Lodge Kohler is basing its objection of the assessed value on income.
When Somers was contacted about the assessment objection, she declined to comment.
Company spokesman Todd Weber did not immediately return a phone call or email message for comment.
According to Brown County property records, Lodge Kohler’s total property tax bill for 2020 was $304,065.
With the assessment ratio listed at 91.6% of market value, the property has an estimated fair market value of $18,340,700.
Lodge Kohler’s 2021 assessed value of $16.8 million is based on the 3.895 acres of commercial property having a land value of $3,808,500 with improvements of $12,991,500.
When Lodge Kohler objected three years ago to what it was going to be assessed for, claiming its value was $11,604,100, the board agreed with assessor Mike Denor, who said he determined the property had an assessed value of $28,656,900 based on the cost approach.
Mike Denor said the company had previously been reluctant to share income information with him, but following the board’s denial of the objection, it showed him Lodge Kohler’s income projections weren’t being met with what the business generated.
He said he worked with Somers to settle on an assessed value based on income, and the two reached a “handshake” agreement for the property at $16.8 million.
Lodge Kohler, which opened in 2017, has described itself as an AAA four-diamond hotel featuring 144 guest rooms outfitted with custom-designed Kohler bathrooms and bedrooms.
The property also includes the Kohler Waters Spa, a top-floor restaurant and bar known as Taverne in the Sky, the indoor/outdoor Leaps & Bounds Café on the main level and a collection of Green Bay Packers memorabilia.