Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Big homes, big taxes

Palatial Linden Woods property comes with $45,200 city levy

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AND you think your property taxes are too high.
New to the market: The Winnipeg dream home with nightmare property taxes -- even by our city's notorious standards.

Asking price: just over $2.3 million.

Listed city tax bill for 2003: $45,200.

According to industry sources, the price that owner Marina Henderson and her husband Mark Henderson are asking for the three-year-old lakefront bungalow at 120 Lindenshore Dr. in Linden Woods is a record for Winnipeg.

The taxes might be, too.

Media mogul Izzy Asper, who was asking $1.6 million when he sold his nearly 4,000-square-foot Wellington Crescent bungalow last week, paid a comparatively modest $22,000 in property taxes.

Or, take another example.

Listed at $2 million and located north of the city, Tarrow House -- with its white Kentucky horse farm fences and signature yellow awnings -- is a River Road landmark.

Tarrow House is a 4,500-square-foot bungalow set on nine acres, compared to 120 Lindenshore, which has 8,000 square feet overall -- but is set on only .98 of an acre.

Still, the taxes this year for Tarrow House were a mere $12,418.

Then there's the 3,200-square-foot Linden Woods house across the street from where the Hendersons used to live on Shorecrest Crescent.

It's on the same lake, set on half an acre with an indoor pool.

The owners there only pay $8,000 for the privilege of watching the same Canada geese, and ducks swim and waddle by.

So what's with the nearly $4,000 a month in taxes that the Hendersons are paying for the home they only moved into in the fall of 2000?

Apparently that's what they wanted to know.

So they had their lawyer, Chuck Chappell, appeal the appraised value, that was just under $1.7 million, which coincidentally is the highest price a Winnipeg home has ever sold for.

According to Chappell, last April the city reduced the assessed value to $1.3 million for 2002, which meant last year's tax bill should have been closer to $35,000 than $45,000.

Still, that's more than most people earn in a year.

Why is their bill so high?

If you see the Henderson's huge home from the lake, you begin to get an idea.

Set on a new street with a string of recently constructed homes, the Henderson home looks like the Hope Diamond beside a row of pebble-sized cubic zirconias.

That's not a knock on the other houses on the street.

According to the appeal report, even the city assessor and an appraiser struggled to put a value on the home because he couldn't find a comparable house and property.

From the curb, even with its distinctive semi-circular driveway, the Tyndall stone bungalow with the full video security system doesn't appear overly imposing.

But from the lake it looks castle-like, sloping to the water on a pie-shaped double lot.

Outside, the roof is cedar-shaked, there's an in-ground swimming pool, terraced garden to the water and even a flagpole, in case you have anything you want to run up it, like your tax bill.

Inside, the main floor has 4,400 square feet, two bedrooms, a great room, home entertainment area, marble hearth, and a kitchen that features marble counters, maple cupboards and an adjacent pantry with a food prep area and floor-to-ceiling warming ovens.

There are two stairways to the lower level, where there are three bedrooms, a glass partitioned games room, spacious cedar closet, wine cellar, office and fitness room.

The floors are a combination of maple, broadloom and ceramic.

And they're heated, upstairs and down.

There's also a five-car, 1,948-square-foot garage.

Also, need I say, with a heated floor.

Oh yes, and the home is fully piled on a five-inch structural slab floor.

Randall Homes constructed it and the Hendersons, as you might have gathered, selected high-quality materials to enhance it.

Now for the price.

According to information filed during the appeal, the construction cost was $1.75 million, including the $235,000 for the land. Add the $200,000 landscaping bill and the total cost comes to just under $2 million.

In case you're wondering, that's $342.35 per square foot.

You might be wondering why the Hendersons have decided to sell after building their dream home and living there less than three years.

It had to be the taxes, right?

The answer is (a) no and (b) it's really none of our business.

If you ask me, though, paying $45,200 a year on your tax bill -- or even $35,000 -- is reason enough to sell.

Even if you can afford it.

Unless, of course, you like paying for a hotel room at the rate of $120 a night.

Just to stay home.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 15, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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