Hudson's Furniture to take over former Dillard's in DeSoto Square Mall

Large store has been vacant since 2009

cschelle@bradenton.comFebruary 15, 2014 

MANATEE -- Hudson's Furniture Showroom is poised to take over the shuttered Dillard's at DeSoto Square mall.

Hudson's signed a 10-year lease for the 100,000-square-foot space, according to property records. It includes six renewal options for five years each, according to the lease. Hudson's also has a right to buy the space outright during the first five years.

Work to transform the space can proceed after Manatee County Government issued a building permit Jan. 29 for interior demolition at the former Dillard's.

Hudson's has 15 locations in Florida, including one south of the Sarasota Square Mall.

The Dillard's at DeSoto Square, on the corner of Cortez Road and 301 Boulevard, closed in 2009.

Hudson's is a family-owned furniture company that started in October 1981 in Ormond Beach. The stores carry common furniture brands including Broyhll, Lexington, Comfor-Pedic, Lane and Vaughn-Bassett, as well as licensed brands Trump Home, Tommy Bahama Home and Paula Dean Home.

The 634,000-square-foot mall has undergone many changes since 2009, when Dillard's announced its closure. During the same year, Old Navy, Foot Locker and Waldenbooks closed. Under ownership of New York-based Mason Asset Management since 2012, the mall has leased the former 11,000-square-foot Boater's World by the food court to a CrossFit Havoc gym to wrap up one of its largest vacancies, while other spaces have been filled with bargain accessory stores.

The mall still includes anchors J.C. Penney, Macy's and Sears.

Mason Asset Management has picked up other malls recently that are struggling, including a contract to buy the Regency Mall in Jacksonville, as well as a mall similar to DeSoto Square, the Chambersburg Mall in Scotland, Pa., which features small anchor tenants and low foot traffic after larger competitors moved in nearby.

A representative from Hudson's did not return a message, and DeSoto Square general manager Richard Bedford declined to comment.

Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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