Real Estate News

DeSoto Square mall owes $22 million on its mortgage. The case is going to trial

The foreclosure trial of Midtown DeSoto Square mall now has a date and time.

Manatee County Judge Charles Sniffen confirmed Friday, following a series of pretrial hearings, that the foreclosure trial is set to begin 1:30 p.m. Nov. 19.

Neither Murray Silverstein, attorney for Romspen U.S. Master Mortgage LP, nor Ron Gache, representing the owners of Midtown DeSoto Square Mall, attended the pretrial session on Friday.

The foreclosure action was brought by Romspen in 2017. Romspen is the Cayman Islands lender that put up more than $25.5 million for the purchase of the mall.

In July, Sniffen set the date for Friday’s pretrial conference, when attorneys for the two sides were expected to reach agreement on a date from a two-week window starting Nov. 12. Attorneys for the two sides agreed on the Nov. 19 date before Friday’s pretrial hearing.

The foreclosure trial is expected to take one full day.

Once a bustling enterprise pulling shoppers from Manatee and Sarasota, Midtown DeSoto Square has been hemorrhaging business in recent years. Long-time anchor Sears left in January, and Victoria’s Secret left in mid-March.

Also leaving the mall this year were Charlotte Russe and Payless Shoes, both of which filed for bankruptcy.

In 2017, Meyer Lebovitz announced plans for redeveloping the 678,000-square-foot mall, including $5.1 million to construct a state-of-the-art, 28,752-square-foot movie theater theater with seven screens.

Also planned was an 18,000-square-foot restaurant complex, along with new paint, soft lighting, carpeted areas, and new colors.

None of those plans have come to fruition.

Madison Properties USA purchased the mall at 303 301 Blvd. W. in April 2017 for more than $25.5 million. Madison borrowed $22,850,000 from Romspen on March 17, 2017, and still owes $21,789,102 million, according to the foreclosure suit.

Attorneys for the mall owners have said they didn’t get a true picture of the mall’s financial health and that the books were cooked by the previous owner.