Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

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LARGO ó Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax assessment "exceeds the market value" of the property.

The 59,500-square-foot building at 15950 Bay Vista Drive is owned by MBGLEN Co., headed by New York businessman Richard Robbins. The company paid a property tax bill of $110,887 ahead of filing the lawsuit in Pinellas Circuit Court. It seeks to have a court set aside the property appraiserís assessment, resulting in a lower tax bill.

"We stand by our assessment," Pinellas Property Appraiser Mike Twitty said Friday.

The office did increase its assessment on the building from $2.7 million in 2016 to $5.5 million this year, but not, Twitty said, because of the sale in April. Rather, he said it was because of the value added to the property by an extensive build-out of the office space. The building got $3.2 million in improvements, according to the commercial real estate firm Marcus & Millichap, which handled the sale.

"Thatís what moved the needle on our assessment," Twitty said.

This summer Florida Trend ranked Vology as the 43rd largest company in the Tampa Bay area, with revenues of $163 million. In May, Vology announced plans to add 200 jobs by 2021 to its then-existing workforce of 420, 310 of them based in Pinellas County. The company said the new positions would largely be focused on network operations with salaries averaging $70,000.

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