Harrison Town Square facing sheriff's sale
Harrison Town Square is heading to a sheriff’s sale after its owner defaulted on its mortgage, according to court documents.
At the same time, Harrison officials are preparing to begin citing the plaza owner for numerous property maintenance violations at the shopping center, previously known as Heights Plaza.
Valvest, an offshore corporation with an address in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is demanding payment of about $17.4 million from the shopping center’s owner, Wild Blue Management of Far Hills, N.J., and company owner Steve Kogut.
Wild Blue Management bought the shopping plaza for $20.5 million in December 2003.
According to Valvest’s complaint, Sedona Capital loaned Wild Blue $16.25 million in April 2016, with a 10 percent interest rate. The loan was to be paid back by April 30 of this year.
Sedona transferred the mortgage to Valvest in December. The maturity date remained April 30.
A writ of execution to schedule a sheriff’s sale of the property was filed Monday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
When a sale might happen is not yet known, Allegheny County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus said Tuesday.
“We’ve yet to receive any paperwork to start the process for sheriff’s sale,” he said.
According to the sheriff’s office, the law firm representing Valvest — Fox Rothschild — would have to bring a sheriff’s sale package to the sheriff’s office.
The deadline for that submission is Aug. 1 for the next scheduled sheriff’s sale in Allegheny County on Oct. 1. A Sept. 5 deadline applies to a sheriff’s sale scheduled for Nov. 5.
A judgment was entered against Wild Blue Management on June 8 in Allegheny County Court. The company has not responded to the action in court and has no attorney listed.
In May, Harrison issued at least 30 property maintenance violations agains the shopping plaza. Valvest considers the violations another default of the mortgage, for failing to keep the property in good condition.
Lindsay Fraser, Harrison’s zoning and ordinance officer, said the township can begin filing citations against the property for those violations on July 18, when a 60-day due process period runs out.
Under township ordinances, each violation carries a penalty of up to $1,000, and each day is a separate offense for each violation.
Kogut retains control of the property but has not made any effort to correct the violations, Fraser said. He did not respond to the township’s May notice.
Although Kogut refused to sign for the violation notice sent to his address, Fraser said, “He can’t say he doesn’t know.”