MASON CITY, Iowa- Earlier this week the Cerro Gordo County Treasurer’s Office refiled a lawsuit against the owners of Southbridge Mall for back taxes of over $170 thousand.
The mall is the key component of the River City Renaissance project as the hope is to build a multi-purpose arena inside the vacant JC Penny’s building. The project would also include a hotel, conference center, museum and skywalk.
Those with the city said Thursday that the multimillion dollar project is not in jeopardy because of the back taxes. City Administrator Aaron Burnett said the project can still be moved forward while the issue is ironed out and that one way or another the taxes will be paid.
“The issue with when the city gets involved with unpaid taxes is when the property doesn’t have any value,” Burnett said. “That building is still worth $1.5-$2 million. It would make much sense for a business owner to let a property of that value go for only around $150 thousand of back taxes. I’m confident he will pay those taxes.”
Burnett said that an agreement with the county and the owners of the mall would mean these taxes need to be paid by December 5th or the county could offer the property up for sale to generate the lost income.
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