Businesses Left Holding the Bag with Iceport in Default

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

The Powerade Iceport project in Cudahy is dead, leaving the city with an undeveloped site and leaving several local businesses holding the bag.

The Cudahy City Council voted Oct. 4 to declare Sportsites LLC in default of a development agreement with the city after the company failed to secure the financing it needed to complete the $29 million ice hockey and skating complex near the corner of East Layton Avenue and South Nicholson Avenue.

Cudahy Alderman Sean Smith told SBT that several businesses that had provided products or services to the project are owed collectively more than $1 million.

Ellen Homb, president of e & Co., a Milwaukee graphic arts firm, told SBT she is owed about $20,000 from Sportsites LLC for photography, graphic design and promotional work. Homb has hired an attorney to assess her options.

"I worked very hard on that project. Knowing I was lied to, along with everyone else, was very disappointing. They hurt large corporations and small companies like myself. Twenty thousand dollars is a huge deal to a company like mine. But they also hurt the city of Cudahy."

Smith estimated the city has invested $10 million to $13 million in acquiring and cleaning up the contaminated site. The city has gained a Walgreen’s store and a Maritime Savings Bank at the site, which ultimately will be made more attractive for future development, Smith said.

However, the city will likely first face a legal battle with Sportsites LLC, which could argue that the city pulled the plug on the Iceport, even though the company failed to fulfill its financial obligations for the project.

"It’s a significant loss for the community and its image. Our attorneys have advised us that anyone with an interest in this project could be filing suit against us," Smith said.

Cudahy Alderman Joseph Mikolajczak said his constituents told him they did not want the city to invest any more money in the project.

"This thing’s been a laughing stock for so long. After (the meeting) people told me, ‘Thank you. Now, let’s move on.’ But there are people who have done work (on the project) that didn’t get paid," Mikolajczak said.

Several of the region’s key corporations had agreed to be sponsors for the Iceport project, including Roundy’s Inc.; Patrick Cudahy Inc.; Miller Brewing Co.; Aurora Health Care; We Energies; Time Warner Cable; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Midwest Airlines Inc.

Iceport president Scott Branovan and Sportsites LLC managing director James Kasten did not return phone calls for comment in this report.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display