Barnes and noble

A view from the second floor of the Barnes and Noble that will house Bucknell University's bookstore this fall in downtown Lewisburg.

Whether or not the new Bucknell University Barnes and Noble Bookstore will help or hurt Market Street remains to be seen, but one thing is known — the new bookstore will be a source or revenue for local taxing bodies.

Unlike the university’s current bookstore, which because it is located within the campus is considered tax-exempt, the new business, at 400 Market St., is a taxable property, Union County chief assessor George Zeyn said.

It’s current assessment, which dates to 2006, is set at $588,900, Zeyn said. That assessment is equal to the property’s fair market value, Zeyn said, based on property reassessments done in 2006.

Based on the current assessment, Bucknell University, which bought the property for $750,000 in 2008, pays nearly $15,500 annually in property taxes to the Lewisburg Area School District, the borough and Union County.

The current breakdown of taxes goes like this: $8,427 to the school district, $4,210 to the borough and $2,832 to the county.

But, considering the $10 million investment made in the property, it is likely the assessed value will increase significantly, Zeyn said, and along with it the amount of money Bucknell will be paying to local taxing bodies.

Zeyn’s assumption was echoed by Bucknell spokesman Tom Evelyn given the improvements Bucknell is making to the 30,000 square-foot building, which will include a large inventory of books, magazines, emblematic sportswear, a cafe, a skylight and spaces for literary and artistic performances and other special events and receptions, as well as an escalator.

The likely assessment increase is good news for local taxing bodies that up until now have not been able to capitalize on Bucknell’s 450-acre campus, the majority of which is located within the borough.

“That was always the intention from the beginning,” Evelyn said. “Bucknell wanted to do it in a way that would benefit the community in all the obvious ways, but also contribute to the tax base.”

Zeyn wouldn’t speculate what the new assessed value of the property might be and Evelyn said Bucknell did not, in the financing of the bookstore project, have an estimate as to what the ongoing tax expenses might be.

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