More large commercial assessment reductions granted in Luzerne County

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -
Luzerne County Courthouse -

Three big-ticket Luzerne County commercial assessment reductions were awarded in July and August through court-level settlement agreements, according to newly posted county reports.

Topping the list was the 16-story Daniel J. Flood Tower senior apartment building on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston, with an assessment lowered by $2.3 million.

Owned by California-based Daniel Flood Preservation Limited Partnership, the property’s value was reduced from $16.06 million to $13.75 million.

The value is only for the 154,680-square-foot structure because the land is part of another parcel, assessment records say. Originally constructed in 1974, the building has 210 units, according to an online marketing brochure.

With the change, Daniel Flood Preservation will pay $333,787 in combined school, county and municipal real estate taxes on the structure annually based on current rates, or $56,154 less.

Refunds date back to the year an appeal was filed. In this case, the county had to return $23,794 in real estate taxes to the company for 2017.

Other cuts

The second highest reduction — $2.18 million — was granted to the Highland Park Senior Living facility on Schechter Drive in Wilkes-Barre Township, records show.

Its assessment was lowered from $7.13 million to $4.95 million, resulting in a $12,780 refund of county taxes paid in 2017.

The property is owned by Clarks Summit-based Highland Park Senior Living LP and includes 7.36 acres and a structure totaling 74,300 square feet, records show.

Under current rates, the company will pay $126,778 in combined taxes, or $55,905 less.

Also in Wilkes-Barre Township, the Arena Hub Plaza commercial space housing Ulta and Five Below received a $1.15 million value reduction, lowering the assessment from $3.9 million to $2.75 million.

This parcel is 2.17 acres, with the structure measuring 17,500 square feet, records show. It is owned by TFP Limited II LP.

Because the assessment court challenge was filed in 2014, the refund covers taxes paid from 2015 through 2017, totaling $25,212.

TFP’s combined tax bill on this parcel will be $70,466, or $29,420 less.

Budget tally

The county earmarked $550,000 to pay assessment challenge refunds this year.

At the end of August, $325,078 was spent, or 59 percent, said county Budget/Finance Division Head Brian Swetz.

County Manager C. David Pedri has said the county may spend the full budget allocation for refunds this year as both new and lingering past cases are resolved.

Officials have been pushing for the closeout of multiple-year assessment challenges, particularly involving larger commercial sites, to minimize the hit to government finances.

Some of the other commercial reductions granted this year, along with the old and new assessments, according to records:

• Quaker Oats Co. plant, Wright Township, $10.5 million to $9.8 million

• Insteel Wire Products plant, Hazle Township, $3.46 million to $2.25 million

• Keystone Automotive Operations Inc.’s warehouse and office, Exeter, $11.45 million to $6.385 million

• Inland Container Corp.’s plant, Hazle Township, $3.95 million to $3.1 million

• UGI Penn Natural Gas Inc. complex, Wilkes-Barre, $8.89 million to $5 million

Luzerne County Courthouse County Courthouse

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.