General Growth Reaches Agreement With Lenders

General Growth Properties, the Chicago real estate behemoth that owns Tysons Galleria, Landmark Mall and the Mall in Columbia said late Wednesday that it had reached an agreement to postpone payment on $900 million worth of mortgage loans on two Las Vegas properties.

The lenders could have called the company into default, as the loans were due last Friday, but General Growth had warned previously that it would consider seeking protection from creditors by filing for bankruptcy if that were to happen.

General Growth continued negotiations with its lenders over the weekend and through the week. On Wednesday, the company said it had entered into a forbearance and waiver agreement with its lenders until Feb. 12.

The loans waived Thursday were related to two Las Vegas properties: The Shoppes at the Palazzo and the Fashion Show Mall.

General Growth bought Fashion Show when it acquired the Columbia-based developer Rouse in 2004, its biggest purchase in a time of aggressive expansion. General Growth paid $7.2 billion and took on $5.4 billion in Rouse's debt.

Some Washington area officials and residents have expressed concern about the future of some of the company's local projects as it struggles through rough financial times. Two months ago, General Growth presented plans for an ambitious overhaul of Columbia's downtown. The company also has been working with Alexandria to redesign the aging Landmark, one of the oldest malls in the region, and some of the area around it.

General Growth also announced Wednesday night it reached an extension until Jan. 30 extension on a separate 2006 credit agreement. In conjunction with that extension, the company said it had agreed to certain restrictions and covenants.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  December 18, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
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