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Amazon seeks over $22M cut from assessed value of Fargo facility

A real estate tax manager for Amazon recommended lowering the value from $119 million to $96 million.

The exterior of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Fargo
The Amazon Fulfillment Center in north Fargo.
Forum file photo
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FARGO — Amazon is requesting a $22.6 million reduction in assessed value for 2022 for its new distribution center in north Fargo.

James Poliyanskiy, a real estate tax manager for the company, appeared before the Cass County Commission during its board of tax equalization hearing on Monday, June 6, to ask that the value be reduced from $119.4 million to $96.8 million.

The decision has been delayed until the commission's next meeting on June 20, when decisions on the taxable value of several pieces of property in the county are being challenged.

Director of Equalization Paul Fracassi said he will be doing more research on the request and consulting with state officials.

Amazon, which Poliyanskiy said was glad to be in Fargo and was still growing, had two main objections that would lower the value.

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A view from the inside of the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Fargo is seen Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. On the left are rows of product shelves, while an inbound and outbound processing area is seen on the right. Chris Flynn / The Forum

One is that that the rating of the building by the city assessor's office has it listed as "an above average building," which affects its value.

Poliyanskiy said he described the building, which was completed last fall, as "average."

However, City Assessor Mike Splonskowski said they used a specialized valuation service and determined that the 1.1-million-square-foot building on 107 acres could be "reasonably classified between two levels: average and good."

The other objection was over a 240,000-square-foot second-level mezzanine for storage that Poliyanskiy argues is personal property and should be removed from the real estate tax roll, similar to some machinery in other industrial buildings.

However, to be personal property, the property has to be removable. Splonskowski said the storage system would take an estimated two months to remove, so it did not fit into that category. The mezzanine and lower mezzanine have electrical, fire sprinklers and lighting affixed, he noted.

The value of the Amazon Fulfillment Center was already reduced by about $4 million as it was determined that a less costly heating, cooling and ventilation system was used during construction.

Splonskowski said the city's office, which works with the county on the final determinations, recommended keeping the taxable value at $119 million.

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