Mohegan Sun Pocono casino now in top 10 highest Luzerne County commercial assessments

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - [email protected] | June 21st, 2016 4:12 pm

The Mohegan Sun Pocono casino’s new $152.5 million tax assessment makes the Plains Township complex the second highest valued commercial property in Luzerne County, a review of county records shows.

Topping the list is Talen Energy’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Salem Township, formerly operated by PPL, with an assessment of $248 million.

Talen Energy pays a total $4.5 million in school, county and local real estate taxes annually on the power plant property.

Mohegan Sun will pay a combined $3.6 million in taxes on its new assessment based on current tax rates.

That’s a 24 percent increase from the $2.9 million paid by the casino last year. The new assessment was calculated because the casino previously paid flat amounts under a court-approved agreement that expired the end of 2015.

The Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre Township ranks third in assessment, with a value of $76.1 million and an annual tax bill of $1.8 million.

Others in the top 10 list along with their assessments, according to county records:

• American Eagle Outfitters distribution center in Hazle Township, $46.1 million

• TJ Maxx distribution center in Pittston Township, $43.1 million

• Amazon warehouse in Hazle Township’s Humboldt Industrial Park, $40 million

• Lowe’s distribution center in the CenterPoint Commerce and Trade Park in Jenkins Township, $28.6 million

• Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Wilkes-Barre, $27.9 million

• Sears Logistics Services in the Hanover Industrial Estates, Hanover Township, $25.6 million

• Arena Hub Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township, $23.9 million.

Owned by TFP Limited, the Arena Hub shopping center includes Barnes & Noble, PetSmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Outback Steakhouse properties in addition to other retail businesses.

The American Eagle property does not generate real estate tax revenue at this time because it is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, or KOZ, tax break program approved by past government officials, county records show.

Owned by Retail Distribution East LLC, the property will be added to the tax rolls after the KOZ expires at the end of 2017, records show.

The Lowe’s distribution center is in the state’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, also known as LERTA, which provides a decade of tax exemption on new commercial property built on blighted land.

Critics say these tax-break programs unfairly give some properties a government-funded competitive advantage, while supporters say much of the development here wouldn’t exist without these tools to attract employers and developers who are offered incentives in other states.

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

[email protected]

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