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Clearwater Ice Arena faces foreclosure

CLEARWATER — A bank has sued to foreclose on the Clearwater Ice Arena, alleging its owner has defaulted on $1.7 million still owed on its mortgage.

The arena, built in 1986 as the Sunblades Ice Arena, hosts open skates, hockey clinics and birthday parties from its 32,000-square-foot building in the Rubin Icot Center. It's advertised as the first ice rink in Tampa Bay.

Michael Malki, an entrepreneur who owns several local gas stations and convenience stores, bought the arena in 2007 for about $2 million, property records show. He invested "over a couple hundred thousand dollars" to upgrade the rink with new lighting and snack shops, he told the Times, and offset the costs with a $1.6 million mortgage from Whitney National Bank.

But the bank's lawsuit, filed last month, alleges that Malki's company Skating Investments has yet to pay it off. Malki was sent a letter last year saying the mortgage was in default and accruing $317 in interest a day. At the beginning of this year, the company owed $100,000 more than it had borrowed. The bank wants to sell the arena at auction and foreclose on the equipment, the suit states.

Mahlon Barlow, a Tampa attorney representing the bank, would not comment.

Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Clearwater Ice Arena faces foreclosure 10/01/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 7:36pm]
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