Ice Zone alleges that by acquiring as many mall properties as possible, the Town of Hazelwood is forcing private landlords like Ice Zone to pay more taxes and therefore a greater share of the district’s debt. Property belonging to the city is exempt from taxes.
Ice Zone, owner of its Hazelwood property since 2016, pays just over $ 100,000 a year through its appraisal, or roughly 40% of its operating expenses. A higher valuation would make it “financially unfeasible” for Ice Zone to continue operating, according to the lawsuit.
“I think it is outrageous that some investors in a development project are doing what they are supposed to do, and that the tax district is changing the rules of the game,” said SmithAmundsen attorney Brad Goss, who represents Ice Zone.
Philanthropist Dan Buck and his company Big Sports Properties presented a plan to transform the mall into a $ 54 million youth sports facility called POWERPlex. The development received public support – the Convention and Visitors Commission, the City of Hazelwood, and the Missouri Development Finance Board all initiated the funding. Big Sports Properties offered to buy the mall.
Ice Zone, in the lawsuit, alleges the city and tax district have yet to approve the sale and instead commissioned a study to determine whether an industrial park would be more profitable.