Biscuit Run “Donation” Price Soars by $20M

Judge Paul Peatross has awarded Biscuit Run’s investors another $20M in state tax credits, K. Burnell Evans writes for The Daily Progress, bringing the price of the “donation” of the 1,200 acres to the state to a grand total of $40.5M.

The land was sold to the state for $9.8M, after the investors were left holding the bag on the worthless parcel when the real estate bubble collapsed, having paid $46.2M for the land at the height of the real estate craze. The project’s investors were banking on getting a lot of state tax credits (which can then be sold) in order to avoid personal financial ruin, since they presumably took out some big loans to cover that $46M, which they’d have to make payments on until they’d repaid the balance. But they didn’t get the money they needed—the state awarded them just $11.7M in conservation tax credits, because what land was worth in 2005 was rather more than what it was worth in . So they sued the state, demanding $19.48M, which is precisely what they just got. The investors’ appraiser claimed that the land was worth a stunning $87.7M—almost twice what they’d paid for it at the height of the bubble—and their attorney today says that the appraisal was vindicated by today’s court ruling, crowing that it “pretty much body slams” The Hook for their critical coverage of the appraisal.

I suppose it’s possible that the state appeals this ruling, but short of that, this now puts the taxpayer cost of this “donated” land at $33,750 an acre. For comparison, Rivanna Farm is on the market for $22,500/acre right now, and they’ll toss in a 10,000 square foot Georgian mansion at no extra charge.

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