Riverfront developer delays tax payments as business strategy
March 16, 2012By Alison Lee Satake
Local news outlets reported that a downtown developer owes about $126,300 in property taxes to New Hanover County. But developer Chuck Schoninger said that the reason he hasn’t paid 2010 property tax on a handful of his downtown properties is not because he can’t.
“It’s not a cash flow issue,” Schoninger said.
He owns about 28 acres of undeveloped land downtown that is in the process of being developed to include a hotel, shops and a marina. Wilmington city officials are also considering the location for a possible new baseball stadium. He said he is in negotiations with other parties about some of the parcels that made paying the property tax an imprudent business decision.
“We’re in the process of negotiating and the taxes were part of that negotiation. If I independently paid the taxes, I would get no credit for that,” he said. “The people who are going to pay taxes may shift.”
He declined to give further details on the negotiations and parties involved.
Of the 12 parcels he owns downtown, he paid county property taxes on about eight of them, he said. For several years, the lender paid the taxes on those parcels.
“We found out a week ago, the lender is not choosing to pay the taxes. I’m not asking the lender to pay anything out of its portfolio,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he has completed about 30 percent of the bulkhead on the 204-slip marina, a project he estimates at $40 million and which he plans to complete by early next year.