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Menard, Inc. v. City of Escanaba

891 N.W.2d 1, 315 Mich. App. 512 (2016)

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Menard, Inc. v. City of Escanaba

Michigan Court of Appeals

891 N.W.2d 1, 315 Mich. App. 512 (2016)

Facts

Menard, Inc. (plaintiff) owned a 167,000-square-foot big-box store (the store) in Escanaba, Michigan. For property-tax purposes, the city of Escanaba (defendant) valued the store at approximately $8 million. To make its valuation, Escanaba used a cost-less-depreciation approach, looking at Menard’s cost of building the store and subtracting the store’s depreciation each year. Menard filed a petition with the Michigan Tax Tribunal (the tribunal) appealing Escanaba’s valuation. To support its argument, Menard submitted an alternate valuation made by Joseph Torzewski, a commercial real estate appraiser, who valued the store at $3.3 million. Torzewski used a sales-comparison approach for his valuation. Though Escanaba was located in northwest Michigan, Torzewski compared the store to eight large retail stores sold in southeast Michigan because no comparable buildings could be found in the northwest portion of the state. All eight comparables had deed restrictions, but Torzewski did not make adjustments for those deed restrictions in his valuation of the Menard store, which did not have any deed restrictions. The tribunal found for Menard, holding that Torzewski’s sales-comparison approach was the correct valuation method to use in the case. The tribunal further held that a cost-less-depreciation approach was improper in the case because it did not factor in the difficulty of reselling standalone retail stores and the likelihood that future buyers would have to make significant changes to the building to fit their needs. Escanaba appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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