(Source: New York Times)

General Growth Properties, one of the largest mall operators in the nation, filed for bankruptcy early Thursday morning in one of the biggest commercial real estate collapses in United States history.

Despite bargaining for months with its creditors, General Growth faced increasing pressure to handle its more than $25 billion in debt, largely in the form of short-term mortgages that will come due by next year. The company has been severely wounded by the recession, which has wreaked havoc upon the retailers who inhabit its more than 200 malls in 44 states. Many stores have shuttered, depriving mall operators like General Growth of revenue.

The filing by the Chicago-based company, made in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan, included most of the company’s malls, which will continue to operate. General Growth’s reorganization efforts will likely focus on selling off properties. It has already suspended its stock dividend, cut its workforce by 20 percent and stopped virtually all new development. (Read the filing after the jump.)


“Our operational model is sound,” Thomas H. Nolan Jr., the company’s president and chief operating officer, said on a conference call early Thursday morning, citing “the unprecedented disruption in the real estate financing markets and the need to extend maturing debt” as the reason the company filed.

Read the full article “General Growth Properties Files for Bankruptcy” in the New York Times (April 16 2009)

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