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New owner for Zona Rosa could be in place soon
Source: New owner intends to 'make it right' with the county

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Industry sources are saying it appears Zona Rosa, the struggling shopping district off of Barry Road in Platte County, could have a new owner soon, perhaps as early as this month.

The potential buyer is Trademark Property Company, a Fort Worth, Tex. based retail and mixed use development, investment and institutional services.

The Landmark reached out to representatives from Trademark for comment but had not heard back by deadline.

A source in a position to know but who requested anonymity due to not being authorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Landmark this week the Zona Rosa property is going back to the lender and the lender has a deal in principle with Trademark to take over.

The closing was initially scheduled to take place in late July but was delayed until Aug. 15. The source, however, said it appears tenants in Zona Rosa have not been told anything so the Aug. 15 closing date could be delayed.

“Trademark is supposedly going to invest in the property, so that’s a positive. They seem to know what needs to be done there,” the source said.

The source then offered a bit of encouraging news for Platte County and county taxpayers.

“They (Trademark Property Company) also know about the situation with the county and will be making that right, from what I’ve heard. I truly think it will work out and if Trademark does what they say they are gong to do it will be just fine,” the source remarked.

Zona Rosa has become a source of much concern for Platte County and its taxpayers in recent months after it was revealed a special one percent sales tax is typically falling $500,000 or more shy in making bond payments that are backed by Platte County.

Zona Rosa was built in 2004 and expanded with a second phase in 2008. In 2007, the Platte County Industrial Development Authority--at the majority approval of the county commissioners (Betty Knight and Jim Plunkett) at the time--issued additional transportation revenue bonds as a financing tool for the second phase of Zona Rosa development. Phase two included another parking garage, as well as a Dillard’s store, etc.

The Zona Rosa property was most recently owned by Olshan Properties. Olshan in many years covered the revenue shortage by making a cash payment to the bondholder. But the cash payments to cover the shortage stopped late last year.
Dagmar Wood, county commissioner, said this week the bond payments are made twice annually, typically with a payment in June and another in December. The upcoming December payment could be about $700,000 short, she said.

County commissioners indicated this week they are budgeting for the possibility of county taxpayers covering that $700,000.

UMB Bank is the trustee of the bonds.

Two county commissioners told The Landmark this week the uncertainty of the Zona Rosa bonds is playing into their pursuit of a tax increase that may go on the ballot as early as November. Ron Schieber, presiding commissioner, and John Elliott, second district commissioner, both indicated to The Landmark this week the possibility of the county needing to make payments to cover Zona bonds is a factor in their potential pursuit of a tax increase this year

instead of waiting to realign the park tax with a law enforcement tax at a later time.
Trademark’s website says the company is “an operator, investor and developer of award-winning, mixed-use town centers, specialty, community, power centers and enclosed regional malls. In its over 25 years of business, Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark has invested in or developed 14 million square feet of retail and mixed-use assets worth $3.1 billion. Trademark’s experienced team of 120 employees is responsible for approximately 6.5 million square feet of retail and mixed-use projects currently in operation or development/redevelopment, including: 5000 South Hulen (Fort Worth, Texas), Alliance Town Center (Fort Worth, Texas), Burr Ridge Village Center (Chicago, Ill.), Galleria Dallas (Dallas, Texas), Glades Plaza (Boca Raton, Fla.), Hillside Village (Cedar Hill, Texas), La Palmera (Corpus Christi, Texas), Market Street Flowood (Flowood, Miss.), Market Street – The Woodlands (The Woodlands, Texas), First Street Napa (Napa, Calif.), Perkins Rowe (Baton Rouge, La.), Rice Village (Houston, Texas), Saddle Creek (Germantown, Tenn.), Victory Park (Dallas, Texas), Watters Creek (Allen, Texas), Waterside (Fort Worth, Texas), and WestBend (Fort Worth, Texas).”

It goes on to say “Trademark’s portfolio of retail and mixed-used development expertise includes a number of recent notable redevelopment projects like Galleria Dallas and Victory Park in Dallas, Rice Village in Houston, WestBend in Fort Worth, Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge, La. and Saddle Creek in Germantown, Tenn.”