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Thread: Lowes "Dark Store" theory

  1. #51
    Appraisal districts operating budgets are funded by the taxing entities. At the end of the year, any surplus monies are refunded to the taxing entities. Several appraisal districts have a pretty good and long history of refunding excess budget funds back to the entities. For instance, Bexar county has refunded every year for the last 8 or so years since Amezquita arrived, but thanks to that $1.2 million expended for legal fees (so far) that streak is in jeopardy, and the same goes for other districts that have been targeted by Lowes.

    The moral of the story is if a county, governmental entity, hospital, school district, emergency services or whomever is running in the red, they won't be able to count on that refund. Services get cut or homeowners make up the difference.
    Last edited by To be named later; 10-10-2016 at 06:17 PM.

  • #52
    Makes me want to not buy $#@! from any of them. Will feel twice that way if homeowners have to make up the difference

  • #53
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    Total bs. Done with Lowe's. I'm surprised Walmart doesn't do this. Also I can think of plenty of examples of stores being reused. Hell the old home Depot in sunset valley is an Academy and the old academy is a specs.

  • #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavy 6 View Post
    What brand of dishwasher sells for $25?
    10 year old girl from China?

  • #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavy 6 View Post
    What brand of dishwasher sells for $25?

  • #57
    Take government money to move to an area. Sue said government for charging the advertised tax rate when you took their money in the first place. $#@! them.

  • #58
    I wonder how much of this is the stores, or the REITs that own the property, hence the stores' lease rates. Remember, federal pensions are heavily influenced and affected by the performance of REIT portfolios. Just a thought

  • #59
    Luminant Energy is using a similar tactic to get their rates/assessments reduced in the rural counties they are located in. It's not the "dark store" argument, but it's similar in that they are deep pocketing these counties into the poorhouse with legal and consultation fees.

    One of the normal responses in cases like these is that we are paying the taxes, since they are simply a pass through cost to the consumer. I have no argument with that. But when you reduce your tax liability without passing that savings back to your consumers by reduced costs of goods/services, then the consumer's cost is now increased. Now the small taxpayer has to make up (either by less services from the county, ISD, ESD or by increased taxes) and continues to pay the same to the corporation that is now simply increased earnings. The increased earnings come from the benefit of reduced taxes not being passed back through to the consumer, but instead pocketed.

    Some will argue that the reduced taxes are considered when determining overall pricing strategies. That is probable. To what extent is hard to say, but I doubt that the smaller tax payers are getting a dollar price reduction to compensate every dollar they have to make up in extra taxes.

    Glen Rose is about to lose its hospital because of this, and several counties are looking to (or already have) rescinded homestead protection.

    The other thing is, once anyone (including corporations) contest their appraisal, they don't have to pay any property tax until it is resolved.

    For example, if their appraisal is for 750 million, they come back and contest that, saying the plant has depreciated/devalued to 150 million. The county doesn't have the funds to fight that, since it would require hiring people to provide support for their original assessment. Bargaining is done, and the 750 is reduced to 500. The next year they do it again, until the tax has been reduced to nearly nothing.

    Funny how we give tax abatements to get these companies in place, then when they start to pay their fair share, they wiggle out of it.

    Pretty interesting.

    http://ieefa.org/property-tax-challe...ment-services/

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    Seems like the correct response is that if they want to be taxed like a blighted property, they should shut down and leave, then they can be taxed on their blighted property. Til then they can go $#@! themselves and pay their taxes like the rest of us.

  • #61
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    We are already screwed by property taxes. Time to get rid of them completely and switch to an income tax, while keeping sales taxes

  • #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn Keibals View Post
    We are already screwed by property taxes. Time to get rid of them completely and switch to an income tax, while keeping sales taxes
    I hate to say it, but I might be persuaded that this is the answer. I'd rather not be punished for landscaping my front yard or improving my house aesthetically.

  • #63
    Quote Originally Posted by $#@! Greg Davis View Post
    $#@! Lowes. Let them leave the state and let's turn all their stores into giant strip clubs that have
    VIP areas with bounce houses and go kart tracks.
    That's a billion dollar idea.

  • #64
    Boom. Got a decision today in the non-binding arbitration. A win for Bexar County taxpayers, a minimal reduction in the value, the three retired judges overseeing the case went with the districts independent MAI appraisers value. It is the equivalent of the judges saying, "$#@! you, this is Texas, we dont give a $#@! what you won in Michigan or elsewhere"

    This also sets a precedent for the same case in progress or pending in Houston and other Texas counties.

    Undoubtedly, since it is a non-binding arbitration decision, Lowes will sue BCAD or try to get it thrown out. But this is a huge win.

    $#@! you, Lowe's.
    Last edited by To be named later; 01-11-2017 at 10:50 AM.

  • #65
    asshat OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? OWLVIS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by To be named later View Post
    Boom. Got a decision today in the non-binding arbitration. A win for Bexar County taxpayers, a minimal reduction in the value, the three retired judges overseeing the case went with the districts independent MAI appraisers value. It is the equivalent of the judges saying, "$#@! you, this is Texas, we dont give a $#@! what you won in Michigan or elsewhere"

    This also sets a precedent for the same case in progress or pending in Houston and other Texas counties.

    Undoubtedly, since it is a non-binding arbitration decision, Lowes will sue BCAD or try to get it thrown out. But this is a huge win.

    $#@! you, Lowe's.
    LINK please and thank you

  • #66

    Lowes "Dark Store" theory

    No link yet that I can find. My source is good.

  • #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by To be named later View Post
    No link yet that I can find. My source is good.
    Does your source by any chance have anything to say about a certain pizza shop?

  • #68
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    If HEB is closed, they are dark.

  • #69
    Quote Originally Posted by To be named later View Post
    Boom. Got a decision today in the non-binding arbitration. A win for Bexar County taxpayers, a minimal reduction in the value, the three retired judges overseeing the case went with the districts independent MAI appraisers value. It is the equivalent of the judges saying, "$#@! you, this is Texas, we dont give a $#@! what you won in Michigan or elsewhere"

    This also sets a precedent for the same case in progress or pending in Houston and other Texas counties.

    Undoubtedly, since it is a non-binding arbitration decision, Lowes will sue BCAD or try to get it thrown out. But this is a huge win.

    $#@! you, Lowe's.
    What the $#@! is non-binding arbitration?

  • #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Sack View Post
    What the $#@! is non-binding arbitration?
    It's like Puerto Rico's vote in Congress.

  • #71
    Quote Originally Posted by To be named later View Post
    No link yet that I can find. My source is good. violating a confidentiality agreement so there won't be any link
    fify.

  • #72
    bunghole Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Anwar Namtut's Avatar
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    The source is to be named later.

  • #73
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    This company is about to go thru some major managerial changes on Tuesday at the store levels. Sorry about the derail.

  • #74
    Only link I can find: http://www.expressnews.com/business/...y-10854394.php

    Panel sides against Lowe’s in Bexar County ‘dark store’ property value dispute

    Bexar County arbitration panel rejected arguments by Lowe’s Home Centers to value some of its San Antonio area stores as if they were empty instead of functioning businesses, according to a seven-page decision issued Wednesday.

    It’s an argument the North Carolina-based company has successfully used in Michigan and Indiana where major retailers have driven down property values and tax revenue. City officials say a victory for Lowe’s could cost area taxpayers more than $272 million over five years if the home improvement retailer wins.

    Lowe’s is suing Bexar County to try to cut its property values in half for 10 area stores. The decision by the three-person panel is non-binding and only applies to four local stores, allowing Lowe’s to still challenge its property valuations in court.

    “We’re evaluating the decision,” Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb said in an email, adding, “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

    Lowe’s, Home Depot Inc., Kohl’s Department Stores, Target and Walmart are trying to persuade judges in Texas and elsewhere that their stores should be appraised as as so-called “dark stores” — which are vacant buildings instead of fully functioning businesses. Appraisers generally value a property at its “highest and best use,” meaning at whatever function makes the most money from the property in its current condition.

    However, retailers argue that their stores should be assessed as if the building were vacant and the property carried onerous deed restrictions — thus lowering its marketability and value to potential buyers.

    The chain’s 10 stores in Bexar County were valued between $80 and $85 per square foot in 2016. The appraisal district estimates those values would drop to roughly $30 a square foot if Lowe’s prevails in its lawsuit.

    Lowe’s has said it’s seeking a “fair assessment” of its properties while the appraisal district estimates a $64.3 billion loss in commercial property value within five years if the big box chain is victorious — and other retailers and businesses employ the same “dark store” appraisal strategy. Using the Bexar County Appraisal District’s figures, the city of San Antonio projected a $272.5 million loss in tax revenue within five years if the courts favor Lowe’s.


    “Recognizing the arbitration panel’s decision is advisory, we are pleased with the outcome and agree with the panel’s legal analysis and determination,” City Attorney Andy Segovia said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the litigation process and work with other stakeholders to ensure statuary appraisal methods are preserved.”

    The “dark store” strategy is still relatively novel in Texas but has been successfully used in other states.

    Lowe’s cut its Indiana property taxes by $120.8 million, resulting in a $49.9 million jump in taxes for Indiana’s other residents and businesses, according to a 2015 study commissioned by the Indiana Association of Counties. Taxpayers in Michigan have returned almost $100 million to retailers since 2013 after the Michigan Tax Tribunal handed down several favorable rulings to retailers who used the “dark store” argument, a 2015 study by the Michigan Association of County Treasurers showed.

    Meanwhile, retailers including Lowe’s, Home Depot Inc., Kohl’s Department Stores, Walmart and Target have sued appraisal districts around Texas to try to bring down their property values. In many instances, appraisers have sought to settle out-of-court for fear drawn-out court battles could drain their meager budgets.

    With at least one pending lawsuit from Lowe’s in Harris County, this likely marks the most progress a property value challenge using the “dark store” theory has made in a Texas court.

    “There have been no decisions from the court or an arbitration that have addressed this issue,” said Karen Everston, an Austin-based attorney representing Bexar County Appraisal District. “This is the first.”

    Though the decision is not binding, the document can be used as admissible evidence should the spat go to a full trial, Everston said.

    Lowe’s and the appraisal district opted for the non-binding arbitration process after failed mediation attempts, according to the panel’s decision. The panel heard five days of testimony in October from witnesses and property appraisal experts.

    Expert witnesses for Lowe’s testified that “because the pool of potential buyers is small, there is great risk that the property will lie vacant and unrented for a long time,” according to the document.

    David Lennhoff, senior director of real estate consulting firm Altus Group, likened big box stores to a “house with a built-in racquetball court: useful to the owner, but a drawback and a negative feature to most potential buyers, expensive to remove,” the document said. Therefore, expert witnesses argued, the appraisal district should compare occupied stores to vacant big box properties.

    The panel ultimately sided with the appraisal district, which argued that “comparable properties must reflect the same or highest and best use,” according to the document.

    “Texas law does not support the notion that appraisal of the subject properties should be conducted as if they were vacant,” the panel wrote.

  • #75
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    So I know I already gave my opinion when this was a thing a few months ago. I don't want to re-read the thread...If this was successful, couldn't homeowners then make the same argument? After all, my house could be vacant as well.

  • #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by NameAlreadyInUse View Post
    So I know I already gave my opinion when this was a thing a few months ago. I don't want to re-read the thread...If this was successful, couldn't homeowners then make the same argument? After all, my house could be vacant as well.
    No. Lowe's argument has been that their building is built for such a special purpose that it's only use is as a Lowe's building and thereby if Lowe's wasn't using it, it would be a vacant building. Single family homes are standard enough that they are fungible as far as who occupies it.

  • #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Banger View Post
    No. Lowe's argument has been that their building is built for such a special purpose that it's only use is as a Lowe's building and thereby if Lowe's wasn't using it, it would be a vacant building. Single family homes are standard enough that they are fungible as far as who occupies it.
    Ok, so I just need to build a house that's so garish that no one else would ever live there and I'm all set with that argument.

    But in reality, they have a giant concrete box. Just like every other big box store. Are they claiming that no one else could figure out how to use that space? I remember when Home Depot decided they needed to expand in Sunset Valley, they built a bigger version of their concrete box in the alley behind their original concrete box. Academy immediately decided to upsize to a bigger concrete box and moved down the street to occupy the old Home Depot, and Spec's moved in to make a gloriously gigantic concrete box full of booze in the old Academy. Does Lowe's put some special mix in their concrete that makes that scenario impossible for their stores?

    Right across the street, there was a CompUSA box that went out of business and got replaced by a Linens N Things, which went out of business and got replaced by a $#@!ing grocery store of all things, which decided it was a bad location and that got replaced by a glorious booze palace.

    They are giant concrete boxes. Whoever came up with that argument should be ashamed of themselves.

  • #78
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    One of the stipulations of bringing these big box businesses into a community should involve the business putting money aside for the the demolition of structures in the event of failure.

  • #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by NameAlreadyInUse View Post
    Ok, so I just need to build a house that's so garish that no one else would ever live there and I'm all set with that argument.

    But in reality, they have a giant concrete box. Just like every other big box store. Are they claiming that no one else could figure out how to use that space? I remember when Home Depot decided they needed to expand in Sunset Valley, they built a bigger version of their concrete box in the alley behind their original concrete box. Academy immediately decided to upsize to a bigger concrete box and moved down the street to occupy the old Home Depot, and Spec's moved in to make a gloriously gigantic concrete box full of booze in the old Academy. Does Lowe's put some special mix in their concrete that makes that scenario impossible for their stores?

    Right across the street, there was a CompUSA box that went out of business and got replaced by a Linens N Things, which went out of business and got replaced by a $#@!ing grocery store of all things, which decided it was a bad location and that got replaced by a glorious booze palace.

    They are giant concrete boxes. Whoever came up with that argument should be ashamed of themselves.
    I completely agree with you. And I think there are a lot of examples of the stores being used for other purposes, but apparently Michigan disagrees.

  • #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Banger View Post
    No. Lowe's argument has been that their building is built for such a special purpose that it's only use is as a Lowe's building and thereby if Lowe's wasn't using it, it would be a vacant building. Single family homes are standard enough that they are fungible as far as who occupies it.
    Does Lowe's actually have proof of this? I recall a Lowe's over the summer being re-purposed for warehouse use after it closed, though it took some time to garner interest.

  • #81
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    I'm going to go into Lowe's and ask for 40% discounts... because after I buy whatever I buy from them, it's going to be worth about 50% of what I paid for it.

  • #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacman View Post
    Does Lowe's actually have proof of this? I recall a Lowe's over the summer being re-purposed for warehouse use after it closed, though it took some time to garner interest.
    They're making the argument work, so I guess.

    Lowe’s cut its Indiana property taxes by $120.8 million, resulting in a $49.9 million jump in taxes for Indiana’s other residents and businesses, according to a 2015 study commissioned by the Indiana Association of Counties. Taxpayers in Michigan have returned almost $100 million to retailers since 2013 after the Michigan Tax Tribunal handed down several favorable rulings to retailers who used the “dark store” argument, a 2015 study by the Michigan Association of County Treasurers showed.

  • #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wally Banger View Post
    I completely agree with you. And I think there are a lot of examples of the stores being used for other purposes, but apparently Michigan disagrees.
    I always knew Michigan was fully of dummies.

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