Lake Square Mall to be auctioned off

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LAKE COUNTY, Fla. —

A mall that has been around for decades could soon be no longer.

Big-box chain Target announced it is closing its store at the Lake Square Mall in Leesburg.

The mall operator said it plans to auction off the rest of the property along U.S. 441.

When shoppers started catching wind of the auction, they became concerned.

Debbie Rothwell spends a lot of time and money at Belk.

"My husband says I'm a shopaholic. I guess he's right," said shopper Debbie Rothwell.

She's lived in Leesburg for 15 years and has seen how the mall that's attached to her beloved store has changed.

"Gradually this store would leave, and this store would leave," Rothwell said.

There weren't a lot of shoppers at the mall, even though people had the day off and stores were pushing Veterans Day sales. The people who did venture out noticed workers didn't have a lot to do.

"Poor lady, she was just in there, wasn't doing much," shopper Wanda Bartley said.

A commercial auction website listed Lake Square up for auction next week.

More than 64 acres, 470,943 square feet at an opening bid of $4 million.

"This is all we have out here, you know everything else is way out in the Villages," Rothwell said.

The auction site says 89 percent of the retail space is leased out and the mall brings in $2.3 million.

Eyewitness News contacted the current owners but there is no word on why they've decided to auction it off.

"I'd be sad to see it go," Rothwell said. "I don't' have a (million) to buy it otherwise I would."

The auction will be open to bidding for two days.

The Target will be closing in February but that is not included in the property being auctioned off.