Dark Stores

Our ability to provide high quality policing services is related directly to this issue. Big box retailers tend to use significant amounts of police service while they are in operation–but dark stores use little or none. So who’s responsible to pay for those services?

Developing Thoughts

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

“Dark Stores” … it sounds ominous.

A Dark Store is not a weapon Darth Vader used in Star Wars, but it’s beginning to loom over many municipalities like the menacing Death Star.


What is it?  Well, it’s a big problem.  In recent years, big box stores – like Meijer, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Target – have appealed their property tax assessments to the Michigan Tax Tribunal, arguing that the fair market value of their operating store should be based on the sales of similar sized properties that are vacant and abandoned.  What?  Are you serious?  An occupied retail store should be valued the same as an abandoned one?  These corporations are arguing that the value of their retail property does not come from the property itself, but from the business conducted inside the building.

The Michigan Tax Tribunal has upheld this “dark store theory” and cut property tax assessments in some cases by…

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