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Cass County denies Amazon's request for $22M cut from property value at new Fargo warehouse

Amazon can still take its case to the state tax commissioner's office for a final determination.

The exterior of the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Fargo
The Amazon warehouse is seen Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in north Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum
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FARGO — A request by Amazon to have the property value reduced for its almost year-old warehouse in Fargo has been rejected.

The company, which opened the warehouse in north Fargo last September, was seeking a reduction of $22.6 million from its $119.4 million tax valuation, suggesting the property be valued at $98.6 million.

The Cass County Commission, acting in its role as the board of equalization, turned down the request on a unanimous 5-0 vote.

Amazon can still take its case to the state tax commissioner's office for a final determination. County Director of Equalization Paul Fracassi said he had been working with Amazon, and they were still conducting research on one of the two questions raised by the company.

That question was if a second-level mezzanine used for storage, which the company calls a "racking system," is personal property and thus not subject to the property's valuation.

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Although real vs. personal property can be a gray area, Fracassi said, the city of Fargo is currently treating all mezzanines equitably as part of the real property.

To be personal property, the mezzanine would have to be removable, similar to some machinery used in other industrial buildings.

The other question was if the Amazon Fulfillment Center fits the "above average" building rating given by the county.

The company's real estate tax manager James Poliyanskiy told commissioners two weeks ago that the building was "average" using the company's guidelines.

Fracassi said they looked at a comparable property, a distribution center that Amazon also opened last year in Beloit, Wisconsin, and that facility was listed as "above average" there.

The 1.1-miillion-square-foot Fargo operation sits on about 107 acres.

The county commissioners did not have any discussion on the property before voting to deny the request.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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