New owners of Zona Rosa want county to pay $1 million owed on parking garages

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Another retail shopping center is facing financial hardships – and now a lawsuit.

Zona Rosa owes the bank $1 million, but the new owners say Platte County should pay off this debt that centers around parking garages.

Eleven years ago, Platte County issued $32 million in revenue bonds to build two parking garages at the shopping center. A one-percent  sales tax was imposed on all items sold at Zona Rosa to pay off that debt. But Zona Rosa has struggled in recent years to bring in enough money with that one-percent sales tax to cover the debt.

Until now, the owners of Zona Rosa covered the shortfall.

Earlier this year, the old owners sold the shopping center to a company out of Texas. The new owners said they should not have to cover the shortfall – Platte County should.

The shortfall so far this year? $1 million.

On Friday, Platte County filed a lawsuit against the new owners of Zona Rosa, arguing it is unconstitutional for the county to use taxpayer dollars to cover this debt.

This whole situation at Zona Rosa is really hurting Platte County’s financial standing.

Moody’s recently lowered the County’s bond status to Junk, meaning it will be hard for the county to secure low interest loans in the future to pay for other public projects.

Despite their struggles to attract shoppers, the new owners of Zona Rosa plan to give this area a face lift. They are thinking of tearing down some buildings over the next two years and replacing them with apartments, hotels, offices and new restaurants as a way to get more people to spend their money in the area.