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Utah mall owner General Growth restructures $9.7 billion on debt

NEW YORK — General Growth Properties Inc. said Wednesday lenders have agreed to restructure about $9.7 billion in debt under a plan that will allow 92 of its properties to emerge from bankruptcy protection by the end of the year.

The nation's second-largest mall operator will pay off loans that cover regional shopping centers, offices, community centers and related subsidiaries. The plan will allow the real estate investment trust to retain ownership of the properties, including the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu and the Harborplace & The Gallery in Baltimore.

The Chicago-based company expanded aggressively during the real estate boom, amassing $27 billion in debt. As the real estate market imploded and financing dried up, General Growth was unable to refinance its short-term loans and in April became the largest U.S. real estate company to file for bankruptcy.

In Utah, General Growth Properties owns the Cache Valley Mall in Logan, Newgate Mall in Ogden, Cottonwood Mall in Holladay, Fashion Place in Murray, the Provo Towne Centre and the Red Cliffs Mall in St. George.

"The Provo Towne Center was not a property that was part of our original bankruptcy filing," General Growth spokesman Jim Graham said in an e-mail to the Deseret News. "It remains out of bankruptcy."

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