The new owners of Sherwood Square say they hope to revive the half-empty mall by changing its name.
The 50,000-square-foot mall at 15 E. Main St. now is called Winchester Exchange, after the city's founder, William Winchester.
"We want to try to change the image of the building. It's had kind of a negative image," said Robert L. Max, a real estate agent from Pikesville, Baltimore County.
Max and his brother, David, bought the building Friday from a Baltimore bank. They would not disclose theprice.
The former owner, Fairfax Savings Association, had purchased the building at a foreclosure auction in 1989 for $3 million. Bankofficials could not be reached for comment.
The brothers said they want to get a mix of tenants, including retail shops and professional offices.
"Hopefully, if we work hard enough at it, it will be successful. I think this is one of the nicest buildings downtown," Robert Max said.
The revival got off to a slow start, however, after the Sooper Scooper, a sandwich and ice-cream shop and longtime tenant, closed Friday.
"We weren't getting the return out of the store to justify all the work that goes into it," said owner William J. Hibberd Jr.
Hibberd and his wife, Terisa, of New Windsor, owned the business for five of the six years it has been open, he said. They employed six people, he said.
Hibberd said they have been trying to sell the shop for several years.
The two Max brothers own Max RealtyInc. in Pikesville, with their father, Jordon L. Max.
They own about 20 retail properties in Baltimore, Robert Max said. This is theirfirst mall venture.
They hope to make it successful by spending money to renovate it, promoting it and spending time running it, Jordon Max said. He would not say how much money they would spend.
David Max said he will be at the mall every day.
The mall has nine tenants, including a deli, bookstore, music store, newspaper, dance studio and state government office.
Timothy S. Bryson, owner of LocustBooks, said, "My philosophy is 'wait and see how things go.' I wish them all the success in the world. Plenty of people have tried to make this thing go."