General Growth Properties Filed Largest Real Estate Bankruptcy Case In U.S. History Last Year

CHICAGO (CBS) – A judge has approved the reorganization plan for General Growth Properties, the firm that owns the Water Tower Place and several other malls across the country.

The ruling clears the path for the company to emerge from bankruptcy protection early next month.

The real estate investment trust will come out of Chapter 11 with $6.8 billion in equity commitments and having restructured and extended $15 billion in debt. All creditors will be paid in full.

Shareholders will own stock in two separate companies — General Growth and a newly formed company called The Howard Hughes Corp., which will own General Growth’s portfolio of planned communities and other real estate development opportunities.

General Growth Properties Inc. will remain the nation’s second-largest shopping mall owner with more than 185 regional malls in 43 states.

The Chicago-based company filed the largest real estate bankruptcy case in U.S. history in April 2009 under the burden of nearly $28 billion in liabilities.

In the Chicago area, General Growth Properties owns the Water Tower Place, as well as Oakbrook Center, Northbrook Court, Lincolnshire Commons, and Spring Hill Mall.

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