DeSoto Square Mall on the auction block

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- With the new University Town Center set to open in October and a premium outlet center just 8-miles north in Ellenton, the popularity of the DeSoto Square Mall is diminishing quickly. Owners of the rundown mall have listed the property for auction next month, and Dennis Dahm, director of the commercial division at Michael Saunders and Company says there many options if the property is auctioned off.

"You're 2 miles from the hospital,” he says. “It would be a wonderful place to have upscale apartments, but on an affordable basis."

Many retailers such as Footlocker, Old Navy and Hallmark have left the mall in recent years, but Dahm believes the area still has a need for shopping options.

'"There is enough population in that area that I think there is a need for good retail there and that is what you have to plan, sit down and say, I have x number of square feet -- how do I redevelop it from this point,” Dahm says.

We contacted the offices of Thomas Dobrowski, senior managing director for Rockwood Real Estate and Auction, but were told no comment could be given at this time.

Dahm notes that whether the mall is bought by a private investor, the city or the county, eventually the property could be put to better use.

"You don't let a property go this long and get to that state without sitting down and saying we're going to have to infuse new money into it," he says.