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Business Observer Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 7 months ago

Shuttered mall heading to bankruptcy auction

DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton to be sold at three-day auction starting Oct. 11.
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

BRADENTON — DeSoto Square Mall in Bradenton is set to be sold through a bankruptcy auction starting Oct. 11.

A bankruptcy judge in New York approved the sale Sept. 20 after a request by the lender, Rompsen US Master Mortgage, which had foreclosed on the property. The judge’s decision allows for bidders to make offers on the property for two days.

The judge will hold a hearing Oct. 20 to consider approving the sale.

DeSoto Square, which opened in 1973 and sits on 57.86 acres in Bradenton, closed in April after years of decline. Not long before that, its current owner, DeSoto Owners LLC, had filed for bankruptcy in an effort to buy time and restructure its finances.

In its initial bankruptcy filing, the owner claims the mall was at 40% occupancy at the time.

According to court papers, DeSoto Owners bought the mall, once a leading shopping destination in Manatee County, March 17, 2017 for $25.5 million with Rompsen providing the mortgage. Payments continued steadily for about the first year but the mall “never generated the income projected,” documents show. 

In eventually went into default and on Jan. 20, 2020 a judgement of foreclosure in the amount of $29.3 million was issued.  

A foreclosure sale was scheduled for Sept. 23, 2020. DeSoto Owner filed for bankruptcy the day before the sale.

At the time of the filing, DeSoto officials said it did not believe it could restructure itself with the property continuing as a mall and said in court papers it wanted to redevelop the entire site into a mixed-use development.

For sale are the 57.86-acre property and 569,675-square-foot mall, which includes Hudson’s Furniture and Firestone Complete Auto Care, according to an online listing for the property. 

According to the listing, there are plans for the redevelopment in place that would call for a 128,000-square-foot retail lifestyle center, 30,000-square-foot grocery store and two apartment communities totaling 705 units.

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