Age, neglect and crime put the DeSoto Square mall on a downward slide for years, but thank goodness a savior appears at hand.
Manatee County's lone shopping mall is in line for revitalization by a family-owned New York company with a successful history of resurrecting retail centers.
Mason Asset Management purchased the mall for only $25 million -- less than half the $61.9 million mortgage, which fell into foreclosure in March. The company plans an immediate makeover, great news for retailers and shoppers.
Mason also intends to install a new surveillance security system and is negotiating with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to locate a public safety substation at the mall.
Shoppers have been scared off from patronizing the shops in light of purse snatchings, robberies and other crime inside and outside the mall. A more secure parking lot alone would bring many customers back.
We welcome Mason to Manatee County and indeed to Florida. This is the company's first venture in the Sunshine State.
With a portfolio of some 50 retail centers throughout the country, Mason brings a wealth of experience, and we hope that wealth pays off here, too.