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Fire-gutted Walmart warehouse adds little in taxes to Hendricks County

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — In 2014, the grand opening of the Walmart distribution center — it was destroyed in a massive Wednesday fire — brought out Gov. Mike Pence, who talked about the economic impact of the building, its thousands of jobs, its 1 million square feet, and its property taxes.

So, where are the property taxes going? You may be surprised.

Walmart does not own this building. An employee at Duke Realty, an Indianapolis real estate investment company, told I-Team 8 that it leases the building to Walmart. Duke also told I-Team 8 that it’s company policy not discuss the terms of the lease or any financial information.

Property tax records for the building are kept at the Hendricks County Courthouse. The county auditor, Nancy Marsh, told I-Team 8 that the assessed value of the property is just over $53 million, but, when the building was under construction, Hendricks County officials gave the property owners a 10-year tax break called an abatement, which equates to a $15 million break in the 2022 tax year alone. The remaining tax bill left to be paid for 2020: just over $1 million a year.

However, the county as a whole will not see a dime of that money. The property taxes from the building and several surrounding ones are in a tax-increment finance district, often called a TIF district by government officials. In these districts, property taxes can be used only in a designated area to pay for roads, water and sewer service, and other infrastructure.

TIF districts are typically used in Indiana as a subsidy to encourage redevelopment of an area.

In most TIF districts, the money does not cover police and fire service.

The city of Plainfield’s spokesperson on Thursday refused to answer any I-Team 8 questions or make anyone from the city available for an interview.

As for the income taxes from the 1,000 employees at the Walmart facility: Unless they live in Hendricks County, their tax dollars go to their counties of residence and not into the Hendricks County economy.  

I-Team 8 reached out to Walmart corporate, but they did not respond.