Austin’s Oak Park Mall is in tax trouble

Published 9:38 am Wednesday, March 27, 2013

AUSTIN — If Oak Park Mall LTD Partnership doesn’t pay up by May, the amount it owes Mower County in unpaid taxes, penalties, interest and fees will surpass $375,000, and the property could be subject to tax forfeiture sometime this summer, according to the Mower County Auditor-Treasurer’s Office.

The unpaid taxes dating to 2009 are due on lots 1 and 11 of the mall, which includes Younkers and most of the mall building. It does not include Shopko. The county’s assessed property tax value of the two lots is more than $2.5 million in 2013.

Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh said the mall owners are aware of the situation.

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“They were very interested in what their options are,” Groh said.

The forfeiture date on the property is May 13, but the owners likely will have until this summer to pay. The county needs to complete multiple phases of publishing and mailing notices to the owners, the last being a notice from the sheriff. After the sheriff’s notice, the owners will have 60 days to pay, according to Groh.

Groh said his office is sending out the required notices in a timely manner.

“We’re actually rolling quite fast in this process this year,” he said.

The full amount must be paid to avoid the forfeiture.

According to Groh, some statutes may allow for tenants to continue operating if the owners lose the property.

The owners also owe unpaid taxes on other parts of the property. About $12,600 is owed on lot 9, which is a parcel of the parking lot where there are oak trees. That property would forfeit next year if not paid. Another $4,800 is owed on a lot 9, which is behind Shopko.