General Growth misses payments

The Baltimore Sun

General Growth Properties Inc., the U.S. shopping mall owner with $900 million in loans due yesterday, remains in talks with its lenders, a spokesman said.

"We continue to talk to all of our lenders, and as soon as we have something to announce, we will do so," Tim Goebel, a spokesman for the Chicago-based company, said yesterday in an interview.

General Growth, which owns several local malls, including Harborplace and The Gallery, Towson Town Center and The Mall in Columbia, is also Columbia's master developer.

General Growth had extended until yesterday payment of a $650 million loan on the Fashion Show Mall and a $250 million loan on the Shoppes at the Palazzo, both in Las Vegas. The loans originally were due in November, and both properties have been up for sale since October. General Growth has said it might have to file for bankruptcy protection if it's unable to refinance debt.

General Growth also missed a deadline yesterday to pay a $57.6 million loan on Chico Mall, a 500,000-square-foot shopping mall in Chico, Calif. Monday, it missed the deadline on a $95 million loan on Oakwood Center, a 360,000-square-foot mall in Gretna, La.

The company also missed a Feb. 1 deadline to pay a $225 million secured short-term loan obtained in October and November. That loan can be extended for 60 days at the discretion of the lender, which General Growth didn't identify, according to a Nov. 10 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

General Growth stock fell or 8.8 percent to 62 cents at the close of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. The company's shares have plunged 98 percent in the past year, cutting its stock market value to $192.6 million.

General Growth, with more than 200 malls in 44 states, is the largest U.S. shopping mall owner, after Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc.

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