UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – Hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake in dual lawsuits over the former Seafood City in University City.

“It smells terrible out here,” said Nick Gierse, a half-mile away from the abandoned business.

Jerrime Young added, “That’s a lot to deal with. The odor. That’s a lot.”

Cleaning crews in biohazard suits have spent more than a week cleaning out the former Seafood City supermarket on Olive Boulevard, continuing to dump the rotting product recovered from the building.

The landlord is now asking a judge for its building back. Attorney Daniel Gabris, who represents the owner, said he could not talk about it because of pending lawsuits. In court, he argued that his client should be able to take legal possession of the building in order to determine damages.

Citizens can’t imagine where that would begin.

“It’s going to take a bunch of money just to get it back up to code,” Young said. “It might be best just to tear it down and start from scratch.”

6 Fortune LLC alleges Seafood City owes $311,421.12 in back rent. That adds up to more than a year in rent payments.

The case is complicated by Seafood City’s own lawsuit. It alleges the building needed roof repairs beginning in February 2020 and that a failure to perform necessary repairs led to raining inside the store and an alleged February 2022 health department shut down of a seafood counter due to water contamination.

The St. Louis County Health Department shut down the entire store in March, citing seafood not properly refrigerated.

“I don’t see how they would be able to serve food in a place like this for a while,” Gierse said. “It’s going to take a lot of work to get it taken care of for sure.”

The landlord is getting a bill for the ongoing waste removal. University City brought in Bio-One, which is known for crime scene clean-up.

Once the clean-up is complete, the landlord will need to bring in an entirely different company to determine what to do with the building next.

There was no major movement at Monday’s hearing. Both sides return to court next month.